In a partnership announced today involving two of the world's most powerful brands, Chevrolet and the Walt Disney Company
, Disney will participate in Chevrolet's Project Driveway, the world's largest fuel cell vehicle test.
Beginning in January, Disney will take delivery of 10 zero-gas, zero-emission Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles
and use them to shuttle Disney employees, celebrity talent and others within Disney-owned facilities in Southern California. The partnership opens the door to possible future activities between Chevrolet and Disney. In addition, the relationship will help build awareness of the sustainability of environmentally friendly technologies.
"This partnership joins two of the most forward-looking companies in America, and we're glad that Disney, an organization well-known for envisioning a cleaner, advanced and more modern future, could join us on this important project," said Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper. "Our engineers will learn a great deal from the feedback they receive from Disney employees and other test drivers as we transform Chevrolet into a brand that offers fuel solutions ranging from gas-friendly to gas-free."
"We are excited to be working with Chevrolet in this important and historic effort to introduce zero-emission vehicles," said Lawrence Aldridge, senior vice president, Corporate Alliances
, The Walt Disney
Company. "For the last 25 years, General Motors has been an important corporate alliance partner of The Walt Disney Company, and this is a natural extension for us given Disney's own emphasis on cutting-edge technology and environmental conservation."
Enabled by GM's fourth-generation hydrogen fuel cell
propulsion system, the Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle is a fully functional crossover vehicle. During the 30-month Project Driveway test, hundreds of consumers in suburban Los Angeles
, New York City and Washington, D.C. will drive these vehicles for three months and report their experiences to Chevrolet. The drivers have free use of the vehicles, including the hydrogen fuel it needs to make electricity onboard as well as insurance, in exchange for providing their feedback.
Aside from its dramatically different propulsion system, the Equinox Fuel Cell looks and drives much like a production Chevy Equinox crossover. The fuel cell system fits within the space of the conventional engine compartment. The nickel-metal hydride
battery pack, which stores energy from the regenerative braking system to increase operating efficiency and boost acceleration when needed, sits under the floor in the middle of the vehicle. Three compressed hydrogen storage tanks, made of carbon fiber for strength and pressurized to 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi), are located under the rear seats and cargo area. They contain roughly nine pounds (4.2 kg) of hydrogen.
Outside, the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell fascia sports Chevy's horizontally split grille, along with extra cooling air inlets in the lower front corners. At the rear, the new fascia under the bumper has four thin vertical slits in place of the exhaust pipe; they release the clean water vapor emissions. This patented design lets onlookers know that this is no ordinary internal combustion engine vehicle. The Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle boasts a long list of standard safety features including driver and passenger frontal air bags and roof rail
side-impact air bags; anti-lock braking system (ABS); and OnStar.