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GM First to Start Public Use of Fuel Cell Propulsion in Korea

New application for GM HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle

Seoul - Starting immediately, Korea joins the growing number of countries taking advantage of GM’s well proven fuel cell expertise and technology in everyday transportation. Yesterday, the HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle, based on the last generation Opel/Vauxhall Zafira compact van, was first used to shuttle global political and business leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meeting currently held in Busan , Korea. Therefore, HydroGen3 is the first fuel-cell vehicle used publicly in Korea. GM also announced that with the proper policy and infrastructure environment, this could lead to a demonstration fleet of fuel-cell vehicles for the Korean market in the future.

The program is designed to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles in day-to-day operations, enhance public and government awareness, support the Korean government in establishing hydrogen fuel-cell-related codes and standards, build GM
in-house application engineering capability, and evaluate the local supply base’s ability to meet anticipated future global demand for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles.

GM’s HydroGen 3 has demonstrated its viability for day-to-day use in many countries around the world and in a number of demanding public test runs. In addition to Korea and one fuel cell Zafira in use in Shanghai (China) HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicles are currently taking part in the following programs:

  • Japan, Tokyo, JHFC ( Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration)
  • USA, Washington DC and California, DoE ( Department of Energy)
  • Germany, Berlin, CEP ( Clean Energy Partnership) in cooperation with IKEA furniture stores.

The HydroGen3 is a five-seat front-wheel-drive fuel-cell vehicle powered by compressed hydrogen. Its 60 kW/82 hp electric motor accelerates the vehicle from zero to 100 km/h in 16 seconds. The compact van has a maximum speed of 160 km/h and a driving range of 270 km. A sister vehicle of the HydroGen3 now put to service in Korea set a world distance record with a 10,000-km marathon through 14 European countries last year, proving that a fuel-cell vehicle could be competitive and dependable in terms of performance and durability. In addition, a HydroGen3 technology vehicle won top honors at the 2004 Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai. It also took first place in the fuel cell category at the first Rallye Monte Carlo Fuel Cell and Hybrid in April, 2005.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 325,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company’s history.

In Europe , GM sells its Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Corvette and Hummer ranges in over 30 markets. It operates 11 production and assembly facilities in eight countries and employs around 60,000 people.