Department of Energy Does the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell

Chevrolet is gearing up to allow consumers to have a crack at driving a Equinox Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle via the "Project Driveway" program, but even employees with the U.S. Department of Energy will log some time behind the wheel in Washington D.C.

Over the next six months, the department will use the Equinox fuel cell vehicle as a fleet vehicle, lending it to employees for business use. The DOE isn't the first government agency to take delivery of the hydrogen-electric Equinox; the U.S. Army received the first example back in 2006. Deliveries to other drivers in the Washington D.C. area began earlier in 2008.

"Project Driveway" aims to lend nearly 100 the fuel cell SUVs to consumers in New York City, Washington D.C., and southern California. Vehicles are loaned to drivers for no charge - and GM does spring for the fuel costs - but users are responsible for providing feedback of their experiences and the vehicle's performance on a regular basis.

Each Equinox is equipped with GM's fourth-generation fuel cell stack, a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, a 97-hp electric motor, and storage space for nine pounds of hydrogen - enough to give the Equinox a 200 mile range. The powertrain is enough to move the Equinox to 60 mph in 12 seconds and to a top speed of 100 mph.

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