At a recent seminar on America's energy future, Gene Nemanich
was talking about the development of fuel-cell vehicles when he
casually tossed out the fact that the cars of tomorrow - and we're talking 2012 at the earliest - will have no internal combustion engine."The fuel-cell car or truck is going to be different than the car we drive today," said Nemanich, vice president of hydrogen systems and fuels for ChevronTexaco and chairman of the board of the National Hydrogen Association.
"You need a coolant," Nemanich
, who described himself as a "car nut," said an aversion to ultra-modern automotive technology by those set in their ways may be the biggest hurdle facing hydrogen-powered vehicles."The question is what would convince someone that they would want to buy one of these?"Nemanich
said General Motors
believes its "skateboard" approach to fuel-cell car design may answer that question.For its AUTOnomy fuel-cell vehicle, GM
has packed all the fuel-cell components in a 9-inch-thick platform that forms the floor of the car.That leaves the car owner free to remove the entire passenger portion and replace it with another type of body.One week, the AUTOnomy is a sports car, the next week a van."They need to make a car that's totally different in functionality in order for consumers to buy it," Nemanich