General Motors’ latest hydrogen car prototype, called the Sequel, will be unveiled today at a press preview of the North American International Auto Show here. It is a car unlike any other and a glimpse of a possible, very different, automotive future. Most important, it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell, so its only tailpipe emission is water vapor, not the smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gases that come out of gasoline-powered cars.
The New York Times writes that the Sequel is totally cool and it does sound and look very interesting. But will GM deliver? Here are three quotes from said NYT article that I thought were important. It seems that something has got to give. We are still moving backwards instead of forwards. The Sequel could change that.
In Germany and Britain, oil consumption has fallen since the 1970’s. In the United States, where fuel costs less than half what it does in Europe, consumption has risen by more than a third since 1970, to 20 million barrels a day from 14.7 million.
Not only is the number of automobiles growing with the population, but the fuel economy of the average vehicle has declined – to 20.7 miles a gallon in the 2003 model year from 22.1 in 1988.
A recent study, financed by the Hewlett Foundation and included in a report by the National Commission on Energy Policy, showed that the fuel economy of cars and trucks sold in the United States was the worst among all the major car markets.