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GM delivering fuel-cell truck

Defense deal to be announced in Honeoye Falls


(April 1, 2005) General Motors Corp. today will turn over the world's first fuel cell-powered truck designed specifically for use by the U.S. military.

A morning event announcing the deal has been scheduled at GM's Fuel Cell Activities Center in Honeoye Falls.

The two hydrogen fuel cell stacks that power the truck were built at the Honeoye Falls site, where about 300 people work.

Expected to speak at the event are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Defense Department representative Roger A. Nadeau. They will be joined by Elizabeth Lowery, GM's vice president of environment and energy.

Fuel cell technology combines hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction to produce electricity without any harmful emissions.

The truck a modified Chevrolet Silverado crew-cab pickup will be leased by GM to the Defense Department for noncombat uses at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and Camp Pendleton in California.

GM equipped the truck with two 94-kilowatt fuel cell stacks, capable of generating 188 kilowatts and 317 foot-pounds of torque, or roughly the motor torque generated by GM's 5.3-liter V-8 engine.

Harold Sanborn, energy infrastructure team leader for the U.S. Army, said the truck is one step in the military's mandated task to reduce petroleum consumption and emissions on its bases.

"If we can accelerate the adoption of this, it helps us meet those goals," he said.

Sanborn also said the deal gives the military hands-on experience as it evaluates the effectiveness of the truck.

"They're very interested in the possibility of putting more fuel cell vehicles at various bases," said Angele Shaw, spokeswoman for GM.

The Army has the largest fleet of vehicles in the world.

Matthew Fronk, chief engineer for research and development in Honeoye Falls, said use by the military will help test the durability of the truck's fuel cells. Fuel cell durability is something GM said it is working to improve as the automaker moves toward commercializing affordable fuel cell vehicles by 2010.

Today's event represents the second major deal this week for GM's fuel cell operations.

On Wednesday, the automaker and the U.S. Department of Energy announced an $88 million agreement to build a fleet of 40 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

TGRADY@DemocratandChronicle.com

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