“Fuel-cell technology is definitely the future for the car industry.” So said Dr Lars Peter Thiesen, General Motors' alternative fuels expert, at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham.

Dr Thiesen was at the show to talk about AUTOnomy, Vauxhall's concept car that uses hydrogen as fuel and emits only water vapour.

“We've invested considerable sums in fuel-cell technology because we believe it is the way the industry has to go in order to survive in the long term. We all know fossil fuel reserves are finite, so we have to find alternatives, and fuel cell technology is not only a solution for the automotive industry, but can also be used elsewhere.”

Fuel cell technology combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce the electricity that drives the AUTOnomy concept car. Although purely a concept vehicle, Vauxhall has also developed an actual car based around the concept that it would be capable of mass producing in the future.

“We anticipate, if all goes well, that the first purely fuel-cell cars from General Motors will be with us in around eight or nine years' time.

“We need investment in infrastructure from energy companies and governments to make fuel cell cars a viable alternative, but in the long run, if the industry is to survive, we must go down the fuel cell road.”

Published : 23/10/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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