Notebook: Auto exec predicts hydrogen cars to dealers by 2015

Hydrogen-powered cars could be in the showrooms of your local auto dealer by 2015, a Detroit executive said today.

“The only question is whether their will be enough infrastructure to support refueling the cars,” said Charles E. Freese, executive director of fuel cell activities at GM.

Freese was the lead-off speaker at this morning’s keynote transportation panel of the NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

A former diesel engineer, Freese said hydrogen fuel cells are key to reducing the country’s dependence on oil – a non-renewable energy source.

GM, which will be marketing its first electric car – the Volt – in 2010, is moving aggressively in hydrogen fuel cell development, Freese said.

Its “Project Driveway” has 100 hydrogen-powered cars being driven by people around the world, Freese said. The program will give GM engineers a good idea of how the hydrogen cars operate in the real world, he said.