and drive the expenses down even further.
“We’re vetting that technology very early,” Stabenow told us. “So we are able to ‘trial’ it on actual manufacturing-intent equipment to show that this stuff can be made.”
Moreover, GM has moved its fuel cell program team from New York to Pontiac, MI to be closer to the company’s engine and transmission programs, the better to capitalize on knowledge in those quarters. Ultimately, the company plans to bring its technology out in a production car, but it’s not yet saying when.
None of this is unfamiliar territory for Stabenow, who holds an M.S. in materials science from Ohio State University, served as a metallurgical engineer at GM’s Flint transmission plant and, later, as an engine materials engineer at GM’s Livonia engine plant. She has also held senior roles in manufacturing, giving her a practical view of production realities.
That’s partly why she’s convinced that there’s an important role waiting for fuel cells in the near future. “This isn’t a science project,” she told us. “Every person who has visited our lab has been surprised. They always say, ‘We didn’t know you were this close to manufacturing.’”
Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 33 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and autos.