Hydrogen fuel cell cars will cost the same as their gasoline counterparts once they reach a production volume of 1 million units, General Motors Corp.'s head of research said this week, according to The Korea Herald
. This volume would comprise a ninth of the vehicles GM produces each year and one sixty-sixth of the total autos built worldwide, the GM official told reporters attending the carmaker's Tech Tour 2006 in Shanghai, citing lack of scale as the primary reason for the high costs of fuel cell vehicles. GM aims to design and validate a fuel cell system that is competitive in terms of performance, durability and cost at volume of $50 per kilowatt (of power generated) by 2010, The Korea Herald
reports. GM has already invested over $700 million in fuel cell development. The company is striving to minimize the requirement of the costly platinum used in its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and is seeking replacement materials to cut production costs. The Chevrolet Sequel, showcased at the GM Tech Tour in Shanghai, is the first vehicle to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system with a broad menu of advanced technologies such as steer- and brake-by-wire controls, wheel hub motors, lithium-ion batteries and a lightweight aluminum structure. Sequel has a range of 480 kilometers (298.2 miles) between fill-ups and acceleration reaching 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds. It has a low-profile chassis that houses all of its main propulsion, braking and chassis components including the fuel cell stack and the on-board hydrogen storage system.