Fifty years ago, General Motors created the world's first hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle.
Furgon Electrovan, as it was called, was part of the 1960s first technology transfer of fuel cells project, set up to provide power for electric machinery on lunar modules, which were used by American astronauts to land on the Moon.
The now 91-year-old Floyd Wyczalek, project manager of Electrovan fuel cell development at GM, recalls that there was a team of 200 people working on this project in three shifts. The project started in January 1966 and was successfully completed ten months later. The hydrogen fuel cell technology took a lot of room, so only a driver and two passengers were able to board the vehicle. Fuel cell durability was performed over a period of several months in a test cell, not during an actual drive.
After the testing period was over, Electrovan was stored in a Pontiac, Michigan, warehouse for over 30 years. In 2001 it was rediscovered and displayed in the GM Heritage Center.