Fuel Cell Marathon Gets Underway

  • 6,215 mile endurance run from Norway to Portugal
  • Real world testing for HydoGen3 Zafira on public roads
  • Emissions-free technology hoped to be market ready in 2010

Vauxhall’s HydroGen3 fuel cell car set out today (May 3, 2004) from Hammerfest in Norway to begin its 6,215 mile endurance test across Europe. The Vauxhall Fuel Cell Marathon, powered by General Motors (GM) will pass through 14 cities – Oslo (Norway), Gothenburg (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Hamburg (Germany), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium), London (England), Paris (France), Opel's headquarters in Rüsselsheim (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Salzburg (Austria), Turin (Italy) and Madrid (Spain) – before finishing in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of the European continent.

This epic drive across Europe will test the durability and day-to-day reliability of GM and Vauxhall’s hydrogen-powered vehicle over a long distance on public roads. The car is expected to average 310 miles a day, and will cover the Marathon distance in under six weeks.

The Marathon car will be accompanied by an exhibition that will give the public in the 14 stop-over cities an opportunity to find out more about fuel cell propulsion and the use of hydrogen as a fuel. In addition, experts from GM's Fuel Cell Activities group (FCA) will give lectures on the current status of fuel cell and hydrogen technology at local universities.

Innovative design allows seating for five plus luggage space

The fuel cell of the HydroGen3, which is basically the heart of the marathon vehicle, is a compact, highly efficient power plant that, together with the electric motor and ancillary units, fits neatly under the bonnet.

Ingeniously, the 15 main sub-assemblies of the drive system have been combined into a single module, which means that the individual elements can be preassembled like those of a conventional combustion engine transmission and then fitted into the bodywork from below and screwed into place. Through this clever design the hydrogen-powered vehicle – which is based on the Vauxhall Zafira – can accommodate five passengers and their luggage.

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Published 4 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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