Posts Tagged ‘hydrogen’

Honda and GM Partners on Hydrogen Fuel Cell

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One of the hindering factors to bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology to the mass market is most definitely cost. Therefore, wherever and whenever auto makers can cut production costs they will surely take advantage. In this case, Honda and General Motors have agreed to a partnership to slice the production investment cost. Not a lot of information has been released at this point, but if the plan goes full swing Honda and GM could open up a plant by 2025.

The plant will focus on the development and production of the components that goes into the fuel cell, while Honda and GM will develop their fuel cell vehicles independent of each other. Cost spikes to producing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle comes largely by way of expensive materials that are needed for the fuel cell stacks. By optimizing development and production efficiencies manufacturers have the ability to move the needle in offering greener vehicles to the mass market.


Audi H-Tron Quattro Shows Off Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology Study

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Battery powered electric vehicles are dominating the topic of conversation when it comes to green vehicle technologies, but several manufacturers are still toying with the idea of a hydrogen fuel cell based power source to solve some of the complex problems with battery EVs. Chemical batteries have a lot of drawbacks, such as large weight and long recharge times, which hydrogen fuel cells solve quite easily.

Audi revealed their version of the fuel cell vehicle here at the Detroit NAIAS with the H-Tron Quattro Concept, which is a hydrogen fuel cell version of their E-Tron Quattro concept. By using a fuel cell coupled to an electric drivetrain, it completely eliminates range anxiety by delivering 600km of range in a 4-minute hydrogen refill. The fuel cell is rated at 110kW, and a smaller battery provides short boosts of 100kW, essentially doubling the available power of the H-Tron Quattro.

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Audi Joins The Fuel Cell Club With A7 H-Tron

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It seems like more and more automakers are jumping into the whole fuel cell vehicle game, or at least they’re jumping on the “let’s build a proof of concept” bandwagon anyway. Toyota’s FCV-R concept has moved closer to production as the automaker has now given it an actual name calling it the Mirai Fuel Cell vehicle. Audi is the latest one to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, however they are pairing it up with an electric drivetrain to form a plug-in hydrogen hybrid system. With a pair of electric motors delivering 228 horsepower and 400 lb-ft to all four wheels, giving the A7 H-Tron the Quattro all-wheel-drive moniker, a rarity for fuel cell vehicles. The H-tron can temporarily boost the voltage to the electrical motors bumping out power delivery to 305 horsepower.

“The A7 Sportback h-tron quattro is a genuine Audi – at once sporty and efficient. Conceived as an e-quattro, its two electric motors drive all four wheels,” explained Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi. “The h-tron concept car shows that we have mastered fuel cell technology. We are in a position to launch the production process as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready.”

Utilizing four carbon fiber reinforced polymer encased aluminum cylindrical tanks to store 5KG of compressed hydrogen gas (H2) at over 10,000 PSI, the H-tron has a range of over 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds up to a top speed of 180 km/h. Being a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the H-tron does all this while emitting absolutely no emissions. The only byproduct of the fuel cell is water. In fact if you notice in our picture gallery, the H-tron doesn’t even have any exhaust tips out back. If you run out of H2, the battery can provide up to 50 km/h of all-electric range. One of the biggest drawbacks of electric vehicles is the recharging time, but on the H-tron the battery reaches full charge from 2 hours on a commercial 360V electrical circuit up to 4 hours on a residential 240V system. Filling the H2 tanks takes about 3 minutes.

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Mirai Fuel Cell Concept – 2014 LA Auto Show

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Hydrogen powered cars were huge in Los Angeles this year and, of the half dozen variants we saw, the Toyota Mirai concept was the closest to hitting North American streets. And by “close” we mean, “they had a driveable model at the show and it’s definitely being released”. We talked about the Toyota FRV in two previous articles and this is the production model. Toyota has committed to building 48 H2 filling stations in California and at least 12 in North East USA, and will be offering free Hydrogen for all Mirai customers. That should help offset the $57,500 they want for what is essentially a beta test. Nobody really likes the looks, but drawing attention to the fact you’re driving a Hydrogen powered vehicle is probably a good thing.

We were caught off guard with how hard Hydrogen was being pushed at the show. It still feels like fully electric cars are on the outside looking in, so to find out that a Hydrogen car is making it into production and 60 filling stations are being built in America was a shock. That said, it’s a pleasant shock. The more options we have for the future, the sooner we’ll get there.

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Volkswagen Brings Two Concepts to LA

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The Golf R isn’t even out yet and Volkswagen is already teasing me with an even better version I can’t afford. At least this one is a concept so there’s no reason to get excited about it.

The Golf R400 is a 400hp version of the Golf R and was simply designed to highlight one of the many things the MQB platform can accomplish. Not much to talk about, so just take a look at it. Perhaps marvel that it shares the same platform as the new HyMotion Sport Wagon, Volkswagen’s first hydrogen powered vehicle.

While it’s still technically a concept, the HyMotion appears to be a complete package and is one of a handful of hydrogen in Los Angeles this year. They were short on details, but we’re excited to see where the HyMotion goes!

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Toyota Still Thinking Hydrogen Cars with FCV-R

Hybrid electric drive is the biggest movement in green automotive technology right now, with many manufacturers providing vehicles fitted with electric motors in addition to internal combustion engines. We’ve also seen a big push towards EVs, or all-electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf and entire Tesla range. On the horizon we’ve got what many people think will be the final push for sustainable driving, the hydrogen fuel cell.

If you haven’t read about hydrogen vehicles then I suggest you do some of your own research, but the gist is that a fuel cell creates electricity by combining hydrogen (H2) with oxygen (O2) and spits out water (H2O) as a byproduct. This means the cleanest possible emissions, free of greenhouse gasses. Of course none of this takes into account the energy that goes into harvesting hydrogen, or the costs and risks of storing and transporting it (you all remember the Hindenburg, right?), but that’s something that I encourage everybody to read about and form opinions on for themselves.

There are currently no hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in production but a handful of manufacturers are currently working on concepts and prototypes. This year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Toyota brought the latest iteration of their hydrogen-powered car, the FCV-R (Fuel Cell Vehicle – Reality and Revolution).

We first saw the FCV-R in Tokyo over a year ago, and not much has changed since, but it serves as a reminder that Toyota is still taking hydrogen seriously and hopefully that other manufacturers should do the same. The only specs we know are that it seats four and can go over 700km on a single tank of hydrogen. You can see it in all its glory in the gallery below.

Check out Photo Gallery of Toyota FCV-R