Bid to ac­cel­er­ate fuel-cell cars

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOTORING -

NEW YORK: Gen­eral Mo­tors and Honda are to work to­gether on nextgen­er­a­tion hy­dro­gen fuel-cell tech­nol­ogy in what in­dus­try watch­ers say is a re­sponse to the slug­gish sales of all-elec­tric cars.

Engi­neers from both com­pa­nies will re­search and de­sign hy­dro­gen fuel-cell cars with the aim of mov­ing for­ward a tech­nol­ogy which is en­joy­ing a re­vival of in­ter­est.

Car­mak­ers have been talk­ing about fuel-cell cars for decades, but com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity has been ham­pered by the high cost and in­fra­struc­ture prob­lems, such as a lack of fill­ing sta­tions.

Ve­hi­cles pow­ered by a fuel cell are emis­sion free. They de­rive their power from a chem­i­cal reaction that pro­duces wa­ter vapour and do not need heavy on-board bat­ter­ies.

Toy­ota has notched up vol­ume sales with its petrol-elec­tric Prius hy­brid, yet sales of all-elec­tric cars have been slow. Gen­eral Mo­tors has sold only 10 000 of its Volt EV in six months of pro­duc­tion, com­pared to over­all car sales of 1.4 mil­lion units.

Ger­many’s BMW is also work­ing with Toy­ota on pro­duc­ing an af­ford­able fuel-cell car by 2015, and Daim­ler, Ford and Nis­san have started sim­i­lar projects. – Sapa-dpa

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