GM believes a phased-in approach focusing on urban population centers and branching out from there is the most likely way to attack initial infrastructure issues. Southern California is one of the few areas in the country where multiple hydrogen stations are available, and GM is centering initial efforts in the region. Honda, with its FCX Clarity, and several other automakers also have hydrogen-powered research and development efforts in the region. The automaker believes that with a $100-200 million investment and 30-40 stations, most of SoCal could be covered.
In the meantime, GM has also slapped a fancy new graphics package (look, it's floating on water!) onto its former Project Driveway vehicles and has begun handing them back out to various organizations and individuals. At the event they trotted-out Stephanie White, one of Project Driveway's first participants with some 4,000 miles behind the wheel of the hydrogen-powered Equinox. White especially likes the environmentally friendly aspects of the powertrain and said the vehicle proved more than capable for her journeys around L.A.
So while the Volt is GM's near-term alternative powertrain gotcha vehicle, the automaker wants the world (and no doubt the federal government) to know that it remains committed to developing longer-term solutions like hydrogen fuel cells, despite the significant hurdles. Because as the Gen 1 vs Gen 2 fuel cell stack diagrams demonstrate, those hurdles will no doubt get easier to jump in the not-so-distant future.