The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Former GM Exec Calls for Fuel Cell Collaboration

August 08, 2002

Ken Baker, former vice president of research at General Motors and one of the key men behind the development of GM's EV1 electric car, will call for the auto industry, government, universities and energy companies to start working together to develop standards for fuel cell vehicles, according to Automotive News. Baker believes such a collaborative effort is needed to ensure that fuel cells are successful when they reach the market."The challenge is consumer confidence, consumer readiness. And that relates back to some of the things we found with EV1," Baker said Aug. 5, 2002 in an interview at the Management Briefing Seminars. "We had a great product and the technology was very well-thought-out. Everyone who drove the car got out with a smile. But was the infrastructure, was the support environment, was the consumer confidence there to take it to broad scale applications? You have much the same challenge with fuel cells."Refueling is a major issue. Automakers are developing various sources of hydrogen and different methods to refuel fuel cell test vehicles."I think the thing that still needs sorting out is the simple question of what will the gas station nozzle and fuel tank of the future look like?" said Baker, now CEO of Altarum, an Ann Arbor, MI, think tank. "Is it on board? Is it off board? Is it going to be at home? Is it going to be at a conventional gas station?"It is a familiar issue for Baker. During the EV1 project, competitive pressures between GM and Ford Motor Co. led them to develop unique, and incompatible, recharging systems for electric vehicles. The split placed fleets and cities in the expensive position of having to buy two types of recharging equipment. A similar situation could develop with hydrogen refueling if a common standard is not developed. The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., estimates that it will cost at least $500 billion to create a hydrogen infrastructure that could fuel 100 million fuel cell vehicles. According to R.L. Polk & Co. of Southfield, Mich., which compiles vehicle registration data, there were more than 209 million cars and light trucks in use in the United States in 2001.
Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

Avis Budget Group operates two brands in the global vehicle rental industry through Avis and Budget.

Read more

Fuel Saving Strategies Survey

View our 2008 survey to benchmark your fleet's fuel and green strategies with other fleets.

Fuel Calculator

A managed fuel program can help you save time and money and gain control over the way you fuel your vehicles. Determine your potential savings by using our fuel calculator.
Launch Fuel Calculator 

Fuel Prices

U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Prices.

Launch Fuel Prices 

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher