Doing what I do for my real job allows me to do some pretty cool things. Today is a prime example of that. I was able to drive the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell, a vehicle that runs 100% on hydrogen. There are currently only about 50 of these in the U.S. right now, half of which are in the Northeast and the rest in Southern California. 100 are expected to be made, and they will all be destroyed late in 2010, since it is just a concept car. Imagine how much one of these things are worth. It was on some futuristic George Jetson shit.
While it looks like a typical SUV, it drives much smoother than any car I have ever been in. Unlike how when you tap the gas pedal in a truck or SUV and the vehicle surges forward a little bit, the Equinox flows seamlessly ahead, as if floating. It is very quiet too, and you may even think it is not even running. The fuel cell vehicle also works in freezing temps, unlike how some hybrids out there have problems in the cold weather. Being that was warm today, I flicked on the air conditioning and there was no clocking of gears and machinery. The air came out a few seconds later cooling me down and the vehicle was not affected at all. Even the engine looks really futuristic, and fake.
The only hydrogen fueling stations in this area of the country are located in White Plains, NY and in Washington DC. Hopefully, as time moves on, more people will become interested in these types of vehicle and the demand will make retailers build more of these stations. There are four stations in Southern California currently. Only these special test drive sessions, celebrities (like Sir Richard Branson who drove the Tahoe hybrid I describe below on Monday in NYC. However, people who live in the area of the fueling stations can sign up on the Chevy website for 90 day trials of these vehicles. For serious. Those people in those areas should get on that.)and top government jokers are permitted to drive these. GM wants to get a broad cross section of the publics input on the hydrogen vehicle to see what changes they should make to it before full on making it available for purchase.
I also drove a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid that was also very slick and looked exactly like a regular Tahoe, except on the screen in the car you can watch how the engine power is being utilized. There are a limited number of these on the road currently as well. The Tahoe also drove quite smoothly, is quiet and very efficient. It's the U.S.'s first full-size two mode hybrid SUV. It gets the same gas mileage as a Toyota Camry, which impresses me for a vehicle its size.