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GM's hydrogen fuel cell fleet holds up in crashes

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GM's hydrogen fuel cell fleet holds up in crashes

11:49 AM

One of the more impressive aspects of General Motors' Project Driveway, which put 120 Chevrolet Equinox fuel-cell vehicles on the streets, is that it was pretty clear from the start that some might get in accidents. With that many vehicles it was bound to happen. But how would a hydrogen vehicle hold up?

So far, so good. Five GM fuel-cell vehicles have been involved in accidents over the years, and none has so far resulted in any sort of catastrophic hydrogen explosion, says Charlie Freese , who is charge of GM's fuel-cell program. That has always been the fear about hydrogen cars, since memories still linger of the Hindenberg dirigible accident in 1937. Freese explains that the cars are designed so the tanks will leak in a jet of flame if ruptured and ignited, not go off like a bomb.

The pictures are from an accident in Washington, D.C. GM PR man Alan Adler says that early on Feb. 22, a Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle was involved in a three-car crash. How it happened:

The vehicle was being driven in traffic at low speed when it was struck from behind by a full-size pickup truck which forced the fuel cell vehicle forward into another pickup truck. No hydrogen was released and no one was injured.

The vehicle was extensively damaged on both front and rear ends and later declared a total loss. A vehicle data analysis indicates that the vehicle and controls operated as designed, Adler says. The vehicle was on a short-term loan to a military consultant.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/03/gms-hydrogen-fuel-cell-fleet-getting-real-crash-experience/1

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That doesn't really look like that bad of an accident. If it wasn't an essentially hand-built vehicle, it probably wouldn't even be totaled. Let's see how one does in a multi-rollover.

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That doesn't really look like that bad of an accident. If it wasn't an essentially hand-built vehicle, it probably wouldn't even be totaled. Let's see how one does in a multi-rollover.

Isn't it just a regular Equinox with the special powertrain? I'd expect the crash performance to be the same as any 1st gen Equinox..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Isn't it just a regular Equinox with the special powertrain? I'd expect the crash performance to be the same as any 1st gen Equinox..

Well, considering it has a non-conventional drivetrain and fuel tank, it's going to be a little different. My thought is that it would take a really major accident (like a multiple rollover) to beat the vehicle to the point that it would show any differences. I would expect it to perform identically to the regular 'nox in minor to medium crashes like this. They state in the article that the real question is concerning things like damage to the fuel tank, which shouldn't be receiving any damage in an accident like the one shown.

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Well, considering it has a non-conventional drivetrain and fuel tank, it's going to be a little different. My thought is that it would take a really major accident (like a multiple rollover) to beat the vehicle to the point that it would show any differences. I would expect it to perform identically to the regular 'nox in minor to medium crashes like this. They state in the article that the real question is concerning things like damage to the fuel tank, which shouldn't be receiving any damage in an accident like the one shown.

Maybe it is just me but shouldn't these have been tested in controlled settings first?

What if one were hit by a train?

Or a particularly large bird trying to open a similarly large mollusk for a snack crashed into it?

Oh the humanity! Better off driving a Toyota. :smilewide:

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