I have been involved with the GM Project Driveway community for about a year. As part of this innovative program by GM, average customers have the opportunity to learn about, provide feedback on and test drive GM’s FCEVs. Here is a review of the program by AutoBlog.
About 3 months ago Mary and I went up to Burbank to learn more about the Equinox and had the opportunity take a 30 minute Ride & Drive which was amazing. Based on the Ride & Drive event I was put into a queue to get a extended loaner.
Well I am happy to report that that I was notified last week that I was selected to receive a vehicle and took delivery of a FCEV GM Equinox yesterday. Here is a picture of me receiving the Equinox at the UCI Hydrogen Fuel Station in Irvine, CA. I will be able to drive the car as my primary vehicle for two months and am already sure it will be a sad day when I have to get the keys back 😦
Scott Brierley (GM) handing me the keys
Picked the Equinox up at UCI, about 1 mile from the Microsoft Irvine office. After a 30 minute fueling overview by the Lorin Humphries, UC Irvine Fuel Cell program, Scott gave me the thumbs up to drive off. First thing I noticed is instant power with tons of low end torque as compared to a normal Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and superior to Hybrids out today. Compared to a Hybrid you don’t have to change your driving habits with this vehicle to get superior mileage. If you read about HyperMilers driving hybrids, they have all kinds of tricks to get the best mileage.
Driving home I changed my route and used the HOV lane on 405 N as a single driver, that is cool as I can’t get the HOV stickers for my 2010 Toyota Prius as allocations have run out.
Drove to Super Mex for dinner, first time in the car for my wife, son and daughter, did not get a good parking spot so the Equinox was not visible.
Today I noticed that turning radius is not as good as I would like, though better than my Lexus RX400h. I really want to be able to do a U-Turn on a neighborhood two lane street, but it turns into a 3-point turn.
Drove down Adams Ave (E) to get to the 405 freeway, stopped at @ Starbucks (Adams & Brookhurst), parked in the lot vs. the drive through hoping I would get Q’s, but besides one long extended look, no one asked me any questions.
Averaging 50.7m/kg. First solo fill-up today. Was hoping to have a no issue experience, but got hung up after hooking up the data cable, did not remember I had to open the Fuel Cap cover before getting the OK to hook up the 750bar Hydrogen line. Had to make a quick call to Scott to get past this step, doh! Once I was told my error, fueling went fast! Hope in the future the data connection will be wireless or in the nozzle itself.
I had a Director from Quicksilver Travel leave a business card on the window asking for more info. We have been playing phone tag, hope to touch base with him soon.
Cut away view of the FCEV powertrain
Today is Friday 9/11/09 and I am driving up to the LAPD Police Academy to see my daughters boyfriend graduate. I am glad to be driving the future as the whole war started around our need for OIL!! Very symbolic day. Drove 123 mile round trip, averaged 49.7 m/kg and the fill-up required 3.472 kg. This was my longest trip so far and on the way back had the Equinox cruising with traffic around 75 mph. The Equinox so far loves all the driving around SoCal: slow, fast, freeway, neighborhood or city.
Picked my son up after he returned from HBHS Cross Country event and had about 35 high school students hovered around the Equinox. Wish I would have remembered to get out my camera 😦 Lot’s of interested by the kids, glad they are concerned about the environment. One of them is writing about alt-fuel for his Modeled United Nation (MUN) project.
Drove over to my local Starbucks, grabbed a Ice Coffee with my wife Mary, parked right outside so that passerby’s could see and then ask about the Equinox. Ran into a guy from Quantum Technologies whose company actually made the hydrogen tanks in this vehicle. Quantum has capabilities to convert Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) to Hydrogen. This is similar to CNG based cars.
Did a lot of slower driving today and was able to get the Equinox up to 55m/kg, cruised around Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Balboa Island and Newport back bay. The picture to the right is the Equinox on the Balboa Island Ferry which has been in continuous operation since 1919.
Day 8 & 9
These days were filled by work, just was able to drive back and forth to work 😦
Today on the way to drop my son off at school as HB City Parking Enforcement officer came screaming up to the car. I was worried he was going to ticket me for something, but thank goodness he was super interested in learning about the Equinox
One of my last days with the Equinox was a trip up to Oakley Corp, what a cool building, to get my X-Metal sunglasses repaired. Here is a picture of the front of the building. Oakely is located in the foothills of Orange Co and has some nice grades via a Toll-Road. These grades are not that aggressive but as usual the Equinox cruised along with out effort. Fortunately our Toll-Road responders are moveable between cars
Very said day today :-(, I had to turn in the Equinox to my GM contact Scott Brierley today. I can’t say enough about the efforts by GM, from E85 (not a fan) to EREV like the Volt, changes are happening rapidly. Check out all the cool announcements about the Volt at www.ChevroletVoltage.com, this is were I am going to be focusing my attention going forward as the Volt and many other EV’s, PHEV’s and EREV are coming in 2010
Thanks for checking out my write up
Kirk J. Nason
First recipient of the “HB Goes Green” home award
Please consider the environment before printing this blog