WASHINGTON - The second generation hydrogen fuel cell system in development by General Motors Co. is half the size, 220 lbs. lighter, and uses less than half the precious metal of the current generation in the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle, according to GM.

In addition, the production intent fuel cell powertrain can be packaged under the hood in about the same space as a four-cylinder engine, and contains GM's fifth-generation fuel cell stack, which could be commercialized in the 2015 time frame.

"The improvements the team has been able to achieve are remarkable," said Charles Freese, executive director of GM Fuel Cell Activities. "Hardware mechanization has been dramatically simplified, which will help reduce cost, simplify manufacturing and improve durability."

"GM has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel cell technology and we are committed to continuing to invest, but we no longer can go it alone," Freese said. "As we approach a costly part of the program, we will require government and industry partnerships to install a hydrogen infrastructure and help create a customer pull for the products."

Through Project Driveway, a demonstration fleet of more than 100 hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric Chevrolet Equinox midsize crossovers has amassed more than 1 million miles of every-day driving by ordinary citizens, celebrities and others since late 2007.