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Zafira FCV sets record breaking fuel cell run

A new record has been set for long distance driving in a fuel cell car by Vauxhall/Opel.

Twenty-three days after setting off from Hammerfest in Norway, Vauxhall's HydroGen3 reached Darmstadt, a town near Opel's headquarters in Rüsselsheim to set the new long distance record for fuel cell cars.

Opel Chairman and managing director Carl-Peter Forster welcomed the Zafira and its drivers when they arrived in front of the University of Darmstadt saying: "The fact that the HydroGen3 has so far mastered all the strains and exertions without major problems shows that General Motors, Opel and Vauxhall are on the right track with the development of marketable fuel cell vehicles."

The stopover at Darmstadt was used to give the HydroGen3 a pit stop inspection at GM's nearby fuel cell development centre – GM Fuel Cell Activities (GM FCA) – at Mainz-Kastel. For more in depth analysis, the engineers replaced a number of parts, including the stack.

"The HydroGen3 has been taken to its limits on many occasions during the first half of the marathon, with dramatic climate changes, a wide variation of road conditions and driving circumstances. We are very proud that there has been no defect that resulted in a failure,” says Dr Udo Winter, chief engineer of GM FCA.

“At the same time we are learning a great number of things during this day to day on-road test which just can't be simulated in the laboratory. We started for example with a used stack to ensure maximum information gathering, allowing us to compare the laboratory results with those on the road. This is exactly the kind of experience we hoped to gather during the marathon," says Winter.

The journey still has to pass through Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. This will be a demanding section, says Bernd Zerbe, an FCA engineer in vehicle testing and validation: “The second half will be particularly interesting because there are mountain stages and much higher outside temperatures."

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