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Fuel-Cell Vehicle


This sounds good. The fuel cell, mounted in a Mercedes-Benz A class long version with slightly raised floor, can carry four people and some luggage with one filling approx. 150 km. The operation of the car resembles that of a continuously variable transmission and with 65 kW an electronically limited maximum speed of 140 km/h is possible. Only the acceleration is not satisfactory, in spite of 210 nm of torque. This is probably due to the more than 300 kg of excess weight.

While we are in this case still in the experimental stage, it is already possible to buy the fuel cell, in general. As a private person it is possible to buy it, e.g., to operate your laptop outdoors without access to a plug for a longer period of time, or as an especially quiet engine for submarines.


The Mercedes A class is of course optimal for this project. Almost no other vehicle has a double floor (Sandwich construction method) like this. The engineers soared upwards when designing this car, which is clearly visible at the outside. Thus the passengers are seated on two aluminium/Kevlar-gas tanks (350 bar), an air-cooled NiMh battery, functioning as a buffer, and the fuel cell featuring a little more performance than the engine needs maximally.

Additionally, there is an extensive system module in the vehicle floor to control the hydraulic/pneumatic and electric processes. This includes important safety installations against hydrogen leakages and, e.g., high- tension transmission to the car body in case of accidents.

In the engine compartment the internal combustion engine has given way to a substantially smaller electric motor far down in the final drive whose gear ratio to the driving wheels stays the same permanently. A gigantic radiator under the bonnet reminds us of the working temperature of the fuel cell of 80°C. The interior heating should profit from it. The air filter capacity is doubled. Also the normal battery remains. One additional job is providing heat to the fuel cell. Otherwise an immediate starting of a trip would not be possible if the temperature is below 5°C. Of course a fuel cell car also has an exhaust system, because the liquid/vapour-shaped water must reach the outside.

Refuelling is comparable in expenditure and time to today's vehicles. To raise the range, tanks with 700 bar are in planning. Even if you take a standard car as a basis, the changes - of course all manually - are considerable. Thus the project price of nearly 1 million euros should not really be surprising. If , however, you drive the car, the price sticks in your head… 06/08

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