Fuel Cells/Automotive 040408

Fuel Cells/Automotive
 (July 2004) General Motors (GM) sets distance record in Europe with its Hydrogen- fuel cell powered minivan. The vehicle covered  6,059 miles through 14 countries in 38 days, which nearly doubles the previous record set by DaimlerChrysler in 2002.  The Electric Drive Association said the GM vehicle averaged 300 miles a day and proved its reliability in changing terrain and weather conditions.  The fuel cell stack was replaced once during the  journey.  Refueling the vehicle with hydrogen took an average of four minutes per fill up.  

In the U S., the United States Postal Service will use a fuel cell powered minivan to deliver mail  in Washington, D.C.  This will be the first commercial use of a GM fuel cell electric vehicle in the U.S.
 (June 2004) Honda successfully proves its FCX  fuel cell stack’s cold-start driving performance capabilities in Japan.  As part of the test, the FCX successfullystarted up after being parked outside overnight, with temperatures falling to as low as -110 C (+120 F).  The vehicle was then driven on the test track and public roads.
 (May 2004) California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District  (SCAQMD) will spend more than $4 million to make 35 Toyota Prius gasoline/electric hybrid cars capable of operating on hydrogen. The vehicles will be purchased by the cities of Burbank, Ontario, Riverside, Santa Ana and Santa Monica - all in the greater Los Angeles area.  The Department of Defense’s National Automotive Center (NAC) is also expected to purchase five of the cars for a development of advanced hydrogen fuel systems for the vehicles.
 (March 2004) The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CAFCP) goals emphasize placement of additional zero-emission fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) into fleet demonstration sites and more hydrogen fueling stations. Over the next four years, its 30 members will work to facilitate the placement of up to 300 fuel cell vehicles in independent, fleet demonstration projects within the state.  Fuel cell buses will operate in regular passenger service in at least three transit districts.

 As of January 15,2004, 58 FCVs have participated in CAFCP demonstrations.  Cumulative miles driven by these cars for the demonstration is over 145,000.  Members with current FCV fleet programs in place in California are Honda in the cities of LA and San Francisco and Toyota at the University of California at Davis and the University of California at Irvine.
(Febuary2004) DaimlerChrysler displays Mercedes-Benz F fuel cell vehicle at L.A. Auto Show in January.   This hydrogen-powered vehicle will be built in conventional manufacturing facilities and will be tested by corporate and municipal customers for feedback in “everyday use” situations in the U.S.

In the F-cell model, the entire fuel-cell system is housed between the bi-level “sandwich” floors.  The fuel cell  - actually a stack of PEM membranes - is supplied by tanks of hydrogen that are compressed to around 5,000 pounds per square inch.  Its electric motor produces 65 kiloWatts, which translates to about 155 ft. lb. of torque and 87 horsepower.

Professor Juegen Hubber, DaimlerChrysler AG’s board member,  had these words to say about the future of fuel cells and automobiles.  “To enable the fuel cell to go on to the market in the foreseeable future, most importantly the fuel and infrastructure issues must be clarified in a worldwide initiative jointly with the political community, the mineral oil industry and the energy sector.   Development engineers, too, still facenumerous challenges, referring mainly to the further reduction of weight and cost as well as the improvement of reliability and durability.  In this field, manufactuers should cooperate more intensively so as to promote the breakthrough of this key technology.”
 (Dec. 2003) Hyundai and Kia will test 32 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. next year (2004).  Both Hyundai and Kia expect to launch approximately 10,000 fuel cell vehicles in Korea by the end of the decade, with commercial production of such vehicles to flow in 2020.
Microsoft Excel ChartMeeting in late April 2003, The California Air Resources Board (CARB)  passed a new required timetable  for the number of fuel cell vehicles. In response to the mandate, Eron Shosteck, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automakers said, “We all want the technology to be there, but passing a mandate doesn’t make it so.  Automakers are working furiously to make fuel cells available to the market in a timely and cost -effective manner, but you can’t place a date and a mandate on it.”

General Motors (GM) Corp. and QUANTUM Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. have received certification from a top German safety institute, the European Integrated Hydrogen Project, for a 700 bar (10,000 psi) hydrogen storage system. With this level of hydrogen storage, fuel cell vehicles could achieve a driving range of 300 miles. In late July, Impco Technologies, Inc. spun off QUANTUM; GM then acquired 19.9 percent equity in the new corporation.(09-02BD78-10)
(July, 02) NECAR 5 Becomes First Fuel Cell - Powered Auto to Cross the U.S.
Honda starts crash testing of FCVs (fuel cell vehicles). Honda has started front and rear collision tests on its FCX-V5 prototype at a speed of 55km/h. The results were encouraging; they confirmed high passenger protection safety during front impact tests, and there was no hydrogen leakage from the high-pressure tank. Honda will be testing the vehicle on public roads beginning in May and will also subject the auto to side collision and front offset collision. (06-02BD75-8)
GM rethinks car in by-wire model fed by fuel cells (01-21-02)
General Motors has regrouped fuel cell and drive-by-wire R & D under a new name ‘Autonomy.’ With the combination of technologies, the long term view projects vehicles which willhave a basic chassis onto which auto bodies of many flavors from sports cars to SUVs can be attached. This may be in response to the elimination of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) being replaced by the FreedomCar program.
The combination of the 42/36 Volt power bus with by-wire implementation of steering, brakes, speed and suspension controls allows the chassis body concept to be feasible. These offerings are farther along that the fuel cells which still cost 10 times the IC counterpart.
GM will count on alliances with Hydorgenics Corp. for PEM membranes, Quantum Technologies Inc. for hydrogen storage, Giner Inc. on hydrogen generation, General Hydrogen for infrastructure and Suzuki Motor Corp. on the entire fuel cell system. The company plans to commit “hundreds of millions” of dollars to the project over the next several years according to David Cole, the director of the GM’s center for Automotive Research.
Electronic Engineering Times
January 21, 2002, pp. 6 & 10
Honda takes lead to bring commercialization of fuel cell vehicles to the United States, specifically California, in 2003. Honda plans to sell much less than a few hundred fuel cell autos to a limited number of fleet customers. The vehicles, based on the FCX-V4 model, use direct hydrogen with two compressed storage tanks located under the floor of the passenger compartment. Andy Boyd, Honda’s spokesman, said, “This is the first step in the process of selling fuel cells to the public. There are still a lot of hurdles, especially refueling infrastructure and cost. This allows us to test commercial viability for a broader audience and gives us a chance for real-world driving and durability testing.” (04-02 BD73-5)
Volkswagen successfully tested Bora HY.POWER. A collaborative team consisting of Volkswagen, the Paul Scherer Institute, ETH Zuerich and Dynetek has conducted a successful long-range test drive of its Bora HY.POWER fuel cell car, which runs on hydrogen stored-onboard the vehicle. The vehicle uses ultracapacitors for additional power. The car crossed the 2,005-metre Simplon Pass between Switzerland and Italy in the middle of winter.(04-02 BD73-6)

(March,02) Government Help

The “2002 Quality Metrics Report” from the Department of Energy’s Office of Transportation (DOE OTT) not only projects positive impacts on the reduction of emissions but also on employment. The impacts should result in 15,244 new jobs in 2020 and 59,244 new jobs in 2030. Jan. 2002, BD 70-8)
 For the automotive fuel cell market to directly impact the stationary fuel cell market (and reach VDC’s best case scenario in the above chart), fuel cell vehicles must achieve commercial success by overcoming tehnical barriers. VDC (Venture Development Corporation) anticipates that the Dept. of Energy’s Freedom CAR Program will accelerate stationary fuel cells. What does this $1.5 billion in government funding mean to the stationary fuel cell marketplace? For the fuel cell companies pursuing automotive applications such as Ballard and United Technologies Fuel cells, this will probably result in considerable government subsidized R&D funding. For the rest of the fuel cell world, the answer is not as simple. (Data and information from Venture Development Corporation, www.vdc-corp.com)

General Motors’ (GM’s) concept AUTOnomy wins the Michelin Challenge DesignTM award. GM’s AUTOnomy concept is the first vehicle designed from the ground up around a fuel cell propulsion system and the first to combine fuel cells with x-by-wire technology, which allows steering, braking and other vehicle systems to be controlled electronically rather than mechanically (02-02,BD71-8)

(Feb,02) Fuel Cells/EVAA Conference