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National Grange News
National Grange President Test Drives Hydrogen Car
  SEPTEMBER 2007 -- National Grange President Bill Steel recently had the opportunity to test an innovative and exciting piece of technology, test-driving a prototype car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell around Washington, D.C.

General Motors Vehicle Engineer Hans Peter Alhborn was on hand for the demonstration of the HydroGen3, providing Mr. Steel with a comprehensive technical survey of the automobile. The HydroGen3 is one of several models of alternatively fueled vehicles from GM to be introduced into test markets this year. The car is still in its prototype phase, though it can reach speeds of 100 mph and can drive 240 miles before the fuel cell must be recharged.

While the car operates with state-of-the-art technology, it will be indistinguishable from any other vehicle on the road in its final phase, though the prototype cars are specifically designed to catch the eye. The automobile runs on an entirely electric design. The different setup allows for complete variability in structure; GM engineers have created a “skateboard-like” chassis, a structure upon which the car body of the consumers’ choosing could be placed. A small truck could potentially operate on the same chassis as a sedan or a wagon.

A hydrogen-based car holds several benefits for those in rural communities. In addition to a complete lack of emissions, a wide-scale adoption of such technology could lessen the need for gasoline on a day-to-day basis. Such a benefit would be limited, however, as the most efficient means of producing hydrogen still uses natural gas as its main component. Also, the only hydrogen fueling stations to date exist in major cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

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