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Monroe County, New York, announced today that they will use a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Electric vehicle as part of their efforts to promote a cleaner and greener environment in the Western New York area. Monroe County becomes the latest member of Chevy's Project Driveway--the largest-ever market test of fuel cell and hydrogen technology.

The announcement was made by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks during her annual State of the County Address in Rochester, NY.

Project Driveway is placing more than 100 zero emissions Chevy Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles, powered by hydrogen, on the streets of key markets in the U.S. and around the world.

"Through this unique partnership with GM, Monroe County is leading the way toward a more sustainable future," said County Executive Maggie Brooks. "By testing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle, we will be able to provide valuable information to GM about the automobile's performance. At the same time, we will prepare Monroe County for the next generation of alternative fuel vehicles. We are proud to be the only community in upstate New York selected to participate in this cutting-edge program, and we look forward to the positive impact it will have on the environment."

GM and Monroe County will work together to collect comprehensive feedback on all elements including customer acceptance, operations and performance and overall satisfaction. This will include cold weather operation and on-road performance. The County is particularly interested in the fueling time and logistics as well as vehicle range. The Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicle will be highly visible at public events, festivals, parades and press conferences, and will also be utilized by department heads.

"Monroe County has always been on the forefront of progressive, new technologies, and what they will be able to tell us from their driving experiences with the Equinox fuel cell vehicle will be crucial as we further develop the technology and move toward commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles," said Daniel O'Connell, GM director Equinox fuel cell service, support and infrastructure.

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 Project Driveway test, consumers in suburban Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. will drive more than 100 of 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 their valuable feedback. A small number of the Project Driveway vehicles will also be deployed to other parts of the world, including Germany and Asia.

Aside from its dramatically different propulsion system, the Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle 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. The Equinox fuel cell has a range of approximately 150 miles ( km) when fully fueled.

Outside, the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle 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); StabiliTrak stability enhancement technology and OnStar.

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