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General Motors Fuel Cell Off-Road Truck News - Insider Off-Road

Posted in News on June 1, 2003
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GM Hydrogen Storage Breakthrough Extends Fuel Cell Vehicle Range First to reach 10,000-PSI milestone in compressed hydrogen storageGeneral Motors Corp. says it has increased the driving range of its compressed hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with the world's first successful vehicle test of a 10,000 PSI (700 bar) hydrogen storage system. The new 10,000 PSI tank technology extends the range of GM's HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle by 60-70 percent compared to an equivalent-sized 5,000 PSI system. GM is the only automaker in the world to successfully test a 10,000 PSI hydrogen storage system in a fuel cell vehicle. This milestone has been achieved more than a year ahead of the stated goals of other auto companies.

The GM system, which consists of two carbon composite tanks, was approved last year by Germany's top safety institute, Technischer ff,oeberwachungsverein (TUV), in accordance with common industry standards in Europe and North America.

"This is a major step forward in developing fuel cell vehicles with a range equal to or better than conventional gasoline vehicles," said Larry Burns, GM vice president, research and development, and planning. "We're making great progress toward realizing the 300-350 mile range required for large-scale commercialization."

AGR Performance Inc. Opens AGR Wheelin' RanchAGR Performance Inc. have opened a new 4x4 park, AGR Wheeling' Ranch. The park is strictly for 4X4 use and is somewhat unique to upstate Texas since there are only three other legal places for the public to enjoy the growing sport of four-wheelin'.

While the park is a private venture, it is open to anyone interested in wheelin'. It is available on the weekends to the public. Prior arrangements are required. The cost is $20 per vehicle and a minimum of 10 vehicles is required for the ranch to be opened for public use.

The AGR Wheelin' Ranch is located on a beautiful yet rugged tract of land. The word has spread amongst the 4X4 crowd that the park is a true challenge of man and machine. Tim and his crew have built their rigs for the extreme stuff and so the first trails built were just that: extreme. But for every extreme climb there is a bypass for those who need it. Also in the works is a whole network of easy and moderate trails to go along with the difficult stuff.

Check the Web page for future events that may include a NARRCA event and other rockcrawling challenges. For more information, contact: Tim McGill, (214) 636-7231, tim@agrwheelinranch;

High-Definition Feature Documentary Essex Television Group Inc. released Drive Like Hell, a feature-length documentary film about the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road auto race. The 90-minute documentary premiered this March on HDNetl, a high-definition network available on DIRECTV and Charter Communications. Don't worry if you missed it; there will be numerous additional HDNet airdates, as well as select theatrical screenings later this spring.

Filmed in Baja, Mexico, in September, October, and November, the documentary is the first behind-the-scenes film ever made about the legendary Baja 1000. The film profiles four teams (Terrible Herbst Motorsports, Honda Motorcycles, Enduro Racing, and the Centrix Financial Racing) as they prepare for, and then race in, this grueling annual event. The film also follows the extraordinary travails of race organizer Sal Fish, who has been staging the race for more than 30 years.

For additional information, VHS copies of Drive Like Hell, and production photos, contact: Dan Carey, (860) 739-8824,; Jim Astrausky,

Primedia IntelliChoice Best Overall Value of the Year AwardsPrimedia's IntelliChoice, a Primedia company that develops and distributes consumer automobile pricing, specifications, and ownership and leasing cost data announced winners of the 17th annual Best Overall Value of the Year awards for '03-model-year cars, trucks, and SUVs at media preview days of the 2003 Chicago Auto Show.

IntelliChoice's Best Overall Value of the Year awards recognize cars, trucks and SUVs that will cost significantly less to own than would be expected of vehicles at their purchase prices. A listing of this year's winners and more information on the awards can be found at Overall category winners in the truck and SUV segments include:

Sport Utilities:Compact sport utility class less than $20,000: Toyota RAV4

Compact sport utility class more than $20,000: Subaru Forester

Intermediate sport utility class less than $30,000: Toyota Highlander

Intermediate sport utility class more than $30,000: Lexus RX300

Fullsize sport utility class less than $40,000: Toyota Sequoia

Fullsize sport utility class more than $40,000: Toyota Land Cruiser

Trucks:Compact pickup class 2WD: Toyota Tacoma

Compact pickup class 4WD: Toyota Tacoma

Fullsize pickup class 1/2-Ton 2WD: Toyota Tundra

Fullsize pickup class 1/2-Ton 4WD: Toyota Tundra

Fullsize pickup class 3/4-Ton 2WD: Chevrolet Silverado C2500

Fullsize pickup class 3/4-Ton 4WD: Chevrolet Silverado K2500

Fullsize pickup class 1-Ton 2WD: Ford-F350 Crew Cab

Fullsize pickup class 1-Ton 4WD: Ford-F350 Crew Cab

The Jeep Compass Will Be Added to the Jeep Vehicle Lineup Starting in Late 2005Building upon the Jeep Liberty platform from what was initially inspired by the '98 Jeepster concept vehicle, DaimlerChrysler intends to offer its Jeep Compass to the public by late 2005. Dubbed the JJ, the Compass is aimed to sell to the next large group of consumers now age 24 or younger. At an estimated base price of less than $20,000, the Compass will be in the same cost bracket as the Wrangler, though it will feature a number of superior components.

With its sports car looks, the Compass will possess a powerplant to match, using a 3.7L PowerTech V-6 that boasts a 110-mph top speed. The mill churns out 210 hp and 235 lb. ft. torque and will feed a four-speed automatic transmission mated to an all-wheel-drive system. A live axle will reside in the rear and be oriented using a multi-link suspension. The independent front suspension will feature upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, and gas-charged shocks. Special P235/55R20 Goodyear tires were used on the concept version of the vehicle, as were 20x8.5-inch wheels.

As with the Liberty model, the Compass will use a lightweight steel uniframe with a 104-inch wheelbase, but it will feature just two doors. The extremely functional cab features four bucket seats trimmed in green leather and Gore-Tex with G Force Green soft-touch grommets. A molded rubber floor and a full-length overhead console add to the vehicle's versatility. The exterior will feature fender-length running lights and a stainless steel brushguard and sill panels with the Jeep name. An integrated roof rack has a diamond-plate textured liner with built-in tie-down spots. The Compass will also extend a nod to its heritage using the well-recognized seven-slot grille.

'05 Jeep ScramblerOur industry spies noticed that the "engineering concept" of a Jeep Scrambler at a recent NADA meeting had a sign stating it was an '05 model year "concept." Hmm, that's when the new Jeep Scrambler is supposed to bow. Pursuing the matter further, we found that indeed this was a soft announcement, but word is the Scrambler will arrive next summer as an '05 model looking very much like this concept.

The engineering concept comes on a 19-inch stretched wheelbase, but the actual production model will be stretched only 10 inches, according to the wording on the concept's display, with a 5-inch overhang stretch. But there is late word there may be both long and short wheelbase versions each equipped with a 4-foot bed. Power team options are reported to be a four-cylinder base engine, with an inline-six option.

The Scrambler concept shown here has a removable top, but soft-top versions have been spied. The limited production Scrambler will be built in Toledo, Ohio, with a production estimated at 20,000 units per year.

'04 Nissan Pathfinder ArmadaThe '04 Nissan Pathfinder Armada debuted in New York this past April. The new V-8-powered, eight-passenger fullsize SUV goes on sale this fall as an '04 model. It will be assembled at Nissan's new $1.4 billion plant in Canton, Mississippi. Sharing design features and components with the recently introduced Titan, the Pathfinder Armada will get the 300hp 5.6L DOHC Endurance V-8.

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