March 6, 2008 Chevrolet’s hydrogen powered, zero emission Equinox fuel cell will be used at Virgin Atlantic Airways for complimentary ground transfer service for passengers. The partnership will occur in the middle of Project Driveway, Chevrolet’s 30-month initiative that involves placing more than 100 zero emission, hydrogen powered electric vehicles on the streets of key cities around the world to gather detailed feedback from users – the world’s largest fuel cell market test.
The Equinox Fuel Cell is powered by GM’s fourth generation fuel cell system – a major advancement in fuel cell technology that can start in sub-zero temperatures, achieve 200 miles per fill up, and travel at up to 100mph. A single-speed electric motor traction system provides instantaneous torque and smooth acceleration, and the nickel-metal hydride battery pack stores energy from the regenerative braking system to boost acceleration and increase operating efficiency.
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The fuel cell system fits within the space of the conventional engine compartment, and three compressed hydrogen storage tanks, made of carbon fiber for strength and pressurized to 10,000 pounds per square inch, are located under the rear seats and cargo area. The storage tanks contain roughly nine pounds of hydrogen.
The electric vehicle fascia has four thin vertical slits in place of an exhaust pipe: and instead of CO2 fumes, they emit clean water vapour. The fascia also sports Chevy’s horizontally split grille, along with extra cooling air inlets in the lower front corners. The Equinox Fuel Cell is fitted with the anti-lock braking system, StabiliTrak stability enhancement technology, and OnStar emergency assist technology.
Virgin will receive three of the vehicles later this month. The deal will help Virgin reduce its carbon footprint on the ground, which is an important cornerstone of company's environmental strategy.
"Our mission to be the sustainable airline is clear, both on the ground and in the air. Partnerships such as this with General Motors show that we are pioneering in the aviation industry when it comes to reducing emissions at every stage of our passengers' journey," said Sir Richard Branson.