Hydrogen propulsion comes into focus once again. We know for a fact that Hyundai sells their Tucson as a Fuel Cell vehicle in California, Toyota recently introduced the advanced Mirai (we have to forgive it for its looks) and a few days ago BMW revealed two prototypes powered by hydrogen propulsion (the series 5 GT FCEV and the wonderfully looking i8 fuel cell prototype). Basically, the market for hydrogen technology exists and small companies run by enthusiasts started to develop their own systems in an effort to produce a breakthrough system or to discover an even better way for utilizing hydrogen.
One of these companies is located in France and a few days ago they’ve revealed a prototype test bed vehicle with a hydrogen propulsion system. Called the GreenGT H2, the car obviously looks like a racing prototype and that is not a coincidence. Six years ago, the GreenGT was created as a prototype electric car with lithium ion batteries and powerful electric motors providing the rear wheels with power. You won’t be mistaken if you think that this thing looks a bit like a Formula E car. However, over the last six years, the company behind it, with Jean-François Weber as Head of R&D, made a few important modification to it converting the car from a vehicle powered solely by lithium-ion bateries to a vehicle with advanced hydrogen propulsion system.
The GreenGT H2 thus received a full-on system for electrolysis, a stack of modern fuel cells and two 160 liter tanks made of carbon fiber and aluminum. This system improved the autonomy of the car (that was the biggest problem with it while it sourced power only from lithium ion batteries) and it enabled the GreenGT to integrate more powerful electric motors. Basically, with two 200 kW engines inside (more than 540 HP) and torque of 2.950 lb ft, this advanced vehicle can supposedly hit 186 mph, and if we are right 8 kilograms of hydrogen (apparently equivalent to 50 liters of fuel) can last for 40 minutes. Unfortunately, they didn’t say exactly how did they measure consumption. What they did say is that the tanks are under pressure of 350 bars and that they are FIA certified.
Unveiled by a former F1 driver Olivier Panis, the GreenGT H2 definitely has some real potential large manufacturers could look into.
“The GreenGT H2 is a magnificent example of hydrogen electric technology that offers power and autonomy. This innovative, clean solution could be used in any vehicle requiring high levels of power: industrial vehicles, buses, trucks, etc. I’m delighted to be part of the adventure, as we’re only at the beginning of a new area and there are major developments still to come,” said Panis after the unveiling.
Also, the company president added a few words: “And following 35 days of tests, our development programme has given the technical team invaluable experience in the dynamic use of a high-powered hydrogen fuel cell,” explained Jean-François Weber, GreenGT’s Managing Director and Head of R&D. “We have focused our work on understanding the complex phenomena linked to this new technology and on building in the consequent technical solutions. By optimizing the components and programs, we have significantly improved the output and reliability of all the GreenGT H2’s systems.”
What we can make out of all this is that this vehicle is a test bed for hydrogen propulsion technology. $6 million worth investments could be returned if the French succeed in selling some of their technology to some large company. Who knows, something interesting can grow from this. We only have to wait.
This article, The GreenGT H2 Is A Hydrogen Prototype Which Could Be More Important Than We Think, first appeared on Gear Heads.