GM's Third Shift Start Monday / Fuel Cell SUV Test Ride

By Scott Sarvay
By John W. Davis

June 18, 2010 Updated May 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Indiana's NewsCenter has learned the Fort Wayne General Motors Assembly Plant will begin its added third shift on Monday.

900 positions will eventually work on the assembly line's third shift.

This news comes as GM unveils its "fuel cell hydrogen" vehicle at the plant Friday afternoon.

GM says the Chevy Equinox has already passed nearly one and a-half million miles of gasoline and tailpipe pollution-free driving.

"It very much is a game changer," said GM Fuel Cell Project Manager Mark Vann.

General Motors has worked with fuel cell vehicles for more than 15 years, investing more than one billion dollars.

More than 100 equinox fuel cell sports utility vehicles are on the road right now in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.

"This car produces no CO2 and consumes no petroleum, so I think definitely its part of the future," said Vann.

However, high production costs and the limited availability of hydrogen fueling stations, present major unanswered questions.

"What we're working on is developing a supply base of competitive technologies out there and then commercialization of the parts and pieces that will help drive the cost down," said Vann.

So what's the cost... According to the Washington Post, if hydrogen vehicles were currently for sale, they would cost between 300,000 and 400,000 dollars.

"Technology takes cycles to really make it ready for commercialization. But we've been on record as some of the OEM's have that we see commercialization viable by 2015," said Fort Wayne Plant Supply Chain Director Anne Schneider.

"We marketed this vehicle as a Chevrolet. Chevrolet's have always been known for value and quality, so that's why we want this technology not for just the rich and the famous, but for everybody," said Vann.

The public can check out the GM fuel cell vehicle, at Saturday's Make-A-Wish event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will be held at the GM Truck Plant on 12200 Lafayette Center Road.

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