NORWALK, CT -- Virgin Atlantic, one of the world's leading long-haul
airlines, and General Motors, the world's largest automaker, today
announced that the airline will offer passengers a zero-emissions
Chevrolet Equinox Hydrogen Fuel Cell car as part of its Upper Class
Initially passengers in Los Angeles will take part in the trial which
will not only enable them to experience the next generation of cars
but also reduce their carbon footprint. The hydrogen fuel cell limo
service is expected to be extended to New York City later this year.
Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, commented: "Our mission
to be the sustainable airline is clear, both on the ground and in the
air. Partnerships such as this with General Motors show that we are
pioneering in the aviation industry when it comes to reducing
emissions at every stage of our passengers' journey."
"We are calling upon governments worldwide, not just the UK and US, to
assist businesses by building hydrogen filling stations in key cities
so that drivers can fill up their cars more easily. As a first step,
existing filling stations could add renewable energy pumps alongside
other fuel pumps.
This new technology will only become commonplace if businesses and
drivers are motivated to adopt it quickly, and that's where
governments need to play a major role." As part of the Upper Class
flight experience, Virgin Atlantic travelers receive complimentary
transportation to and from the airport in Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell
Initially three Equinox vehicles will become part of the fleet of cars
used to transport Upper Class passengers to and from Los Angeles
The partnership is the latest in the airline's sustainability efforts.
Utilizing the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle as part of the Upper Class
automotive fleet will not only reduce the airline's overall carbon
output, but more importantly, will serve as an important real world
market test. It will enable GM to get practical customer feedback from
drivers and passengers.
Dr. Larry Burns, Vice-President for Planning and R&D at General
Motors, commented: "This is a great partnership. Sir Richard Branson
and the Virgin brand are globally-recognized, and Virgin Atlantic
customers are educated and influential people concerned about the
This business partnership is an important piece of the Project
Driveway program. The Virgin Atlantic team will help us learn a great
deal about how fuel cell vehicles perform in an every-day commercial
Powered by GM's fourth-generation fuel cell propulsion system, the
Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle is a fully-functional crossover
vehicle. Fuel cell technology and hydrogen fuel represents a step
change for the automotive industry and will substantially reduce the
industry's impact on the environment.
This initiative is part of GM's Project Driveway, the largest market
test of its kind, which is currently launching 100 Hydrogen Fuel Cell
vehicles to streets and driveways in California, New York and
Washington DC. Additional market tests are planned for Europe and
Asia, beginning later this year.
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