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Hydrogen Cars Nothing New: 1966 GM Electrovan

Posted in Fuel Cell, GM, Hydrogen Cars by Jon | January 12th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

This new wave of hydrogen fuel cell cars is not due to new technology, but instead a demand from the public in response to rising gas prices. In fact, fuel cells have been around since the early 1800’s. Even so the first car to put fuel cell technology to use was the 1966 GM Electrovan.  This van’s fuel cell had a range of over 120 miles which is not to bad compared to the modern Honda Clarity which has a range of 24o miles. This van was built and tested in 1966 but ultimately ended up failing due to cost and a lack of space.  The piping and equipment needed to power the fuel cell turned the 6 seat GMC Handivan into a 2 seat hyrdogen Electrovan. High costs came as a result of a lack of information, technology, and interest at the time. There was such a lack of information on hydrogen fuel cell cars that even the Smithsonian Institute did not allow it inside their facilities for the sole reason that they had never heard of a fuel cell before and did not understand it’s dynamics. Obviously the information  and technology available today makes the hydrogen fuel cell cars more affordable and safe, but the main reason they may now succeed is that there is a greater worldwide interest due to the global energy demand and rising fuel prices.

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