1960s. The General Motors Electrovan. Fill ‘er up with fuel cells.

Footage of experimental electric General Motors vehicles from the 1960s.
This project was proof of concept for the idea that a vehicle could be powered by a fuel cell. At the time fuel cells were cost-prohibitive for production vehicles.
  • Showcases GM’s commitment to alternative fuel
  • Fuel cell powered prototype van
  • Technology developed for all GM vans
Developing alternatives to fossil fuel has long been a priority for GM engineers, and great strides have been made. This promotional film from the 1960s is relatively short, but it goes a long way toward telling the story.

The film is set at the GM Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan, where it details the engineering and technological advancements of the Electrovan. This prototype is a fuel cell powered version of the GMC Handivan, which was also built by General Motors Research Laboratories

The biggest hurdle back then, just as it is today, was affordability of fuel cell power. However, GM engineers were also able to apply much of what they learned to van engineering in general, leading to features which are in GM van products today.