Cars of Futures Past & 1966 GM Electrovan | Hemmings Daily

21 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Cars of Futures Past & 1966 GM Electrovan | Hemmings Daily

GM Electrovan. by Daniel Strohl.

In 2000, Honda began using its FCX-V3 hydrogen fuel vehicle as the official pace car of the Los marathon, and by 2002 the city of Los became Honda#8217;s first customer for a hydrogen fuel vehicle, leasing five FCX for its fleet. In 2005, Honda its evolved FCX to the first non-fleet and by mid-2008, the Japanese automaker was its FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel vehicle to residential lessees in California markets (Torrance, Monica and Irvine). Though automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW both extensive research into fuel cells, it would that Honda was the first to develop the technology, except for one truth: GM developed a functioning fuel cell-powered vehicle all the way in 1966.

In simple terms, the 1966 GM was an electric car (or electric van, from a production GMC Handi-Van), by fuel cells instead of conventional batteries. Fuel themselves take stored energy and use it to produce electricity via a of electrochemical reactions. In modern fuel cell vehicles, an external source of hydrogen is as the oxygen utilized in the process is from the air.

Unlike the of fossil fuels, which a litany of things bad for the environment, a fuel cell produces two waste products: water and heat. To get the power needed to a full size vehicle, cells are stacked in series the desired output level is

The Electrovan at speed.

As Honda the fuel cell process in its FCX Clarity (which, admittedly, from the process used in the GM but shares the same basic hydrogen is fed into the anode of the cell. Aided by a catalyst, the molecules split into and protons, with the electrons through a circuit to produce The protons pass through an membrane, where they with oxygen molecules in the

As the hydrogen electrons enter the they, too, combine the oxygen in the cathode, and water is the net result.

Fuel cells to the 1800s, and prior to the development of the GM had been used to power aboard NASA#8217;s Gemini In that regard, they well proven, if a bit more (and bulky) than used in conventional hydrogen cell vehicles. The Electrovan three onboard tanks: one for the oxygen, one for the liquid hydrogen and a for the electrolyte, potassium hydroxide.

Both the liquid oxygen and the hydrogen were kept at temperatures, and the potassium hydroxide produced #8220;brilliant fireworks#8221; it leaked. Given the highly nature of both liquid and liquid oxygen, this have been anything but and accidents did, occasionally, during the Electrovan#8217;s development.

GM Electrovan. Images courtesy GM Archives

Mazda Capella Cargo

Once, the on-board tank exploded, though it clear if this was due to combustion or In either case, the resulting was enough to send shrapnel a quarter-mile radius, prompting the to limit testing of the Electrovan to own property instead of extending it to roads. The journalists on hand for its in October of 1966 weren#8217;t allowed to drive it, as it was perceived to be far too (and potentially dangerous) to in untrained hands.

In addition to the three on-board storage tanks, the Electrovan utilized 32 thin-electrode fuel modules (in series), positioned the floor of the van and connected by 550 feet of tubing. These produced a output of 32 kilowatts, with a output of 160 kilowatts, enough to get the pound rolling laboratory 0-60 MPH in 30 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 70 The control system and the motor the space underneath the front and on full tanks the Electrovan was to have a range between 100 and 150

Though the demonstration was impressive some equating it to GM#8217;s own program), the Electrovan project was soon after its reveal. As of the 32 fuel cells used a amount of platinum in its construction, the build would have cost-prohibitive for all practical purposes. there was the complexity of the laboratory-grade cell system used in the as well as the total absence of a infrastructure (which, hydrogen cell proponents argue, is the issue hampering development

Developing the Electrovan took 250 led by Dr. Craig Marks (then of GM#8217;s futuristic engineering and two and a half years of effort. incredibly forward-thinking for its day, hard to quantify exactly GM learned from the experiment, or how it may aided the company financially.

in the mid-1960s, GM still had the kind of to allow investing in pie-in-the-sky such as this without the for a concrete and definable return that would never be in these post-financial-apocalypse times).

In the years since, GM has dabbled in cell concepts and experimental showing the HydroGen 1 minivan in the AUTOnomy concept in 2003; the concept in 2003; the Sequel CUV in and the Equinox Fuel Cell in GM has filed more fuel patents between 2002 and than any other automaker, as of July 2013, has entered a cooperative agreement with to develop fuel cell for future vehicles. Should eventually overcome the obstacles between development and launch, the Electrovan will be remembered as the cell vehicle that it all.

Mazda Capella Cargo
Mazda Capella Cargo

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