Volvo is working on a fuel cell for electric cars

Volvo is working on a fuel cell for electric cars

Volvo is taking another step towards next generation technology for electric cars. With the support of the Swedish Energy Research, the company began developing a fuel cell to extend ecological autonomy electric machines.

"This approach is an extension of our research in the field of electrification. The cost of batteries and their size is relatively limited autonomy-electric cars. Fuel cells could be the solution to extend the distances that these machines can pick before being recharged. Further, the project gives us new information about fuel cells and hydrogen, "said Volvo Cars President Stefan Jacoby.

Volvo working on this project with the company Powercell Sweden AB. In the first phase, conducted a preliminary study of the so-called "Range Extender", which consists of a fuel cell with a "reformer". Its role is to convert liquid fuel, in this case oil, hydrogen. This fuel cell will convert hydrogen into electricity, which in turn will feed the electric motor of the car. Technology issues generate electricity without carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and other particles. Thanks very efficient process, CO2 emissions are significantly reduced compared to a conventional vehicle. At the end of this process will result in electricity, water and a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Technology can also be adapted for renewable fuels (biofuels).

Volvo expects this technology to expand the autonomy of electric cars up to 250 km, in addition to that provided by its onboard batteries. The industrial-scale production of these fuel cells will continuously improve cost efficiency.

In the next phase, with the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo and Powercell will produce two test machines, electric model based on the Volvo C30 DRIVe. These will be operational in 2012, the first tests in real traffic.

"I made only the first step and of course too early to talk about mass production of electric cars with Range Extender. Decision for industrialization will come after we collect enough information about fuel cells and the opportunities they offer, "said Stefan Jacoby.


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