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Hybrid Electric Powertrain with Fuel Cells for a Series Vehicle


Recent environmental and climate change issues make it imperative to persistently approach research into the development of technologies designed to ensure the sustainability of global mobility. At the European Union level, the transport sector is responsible for approximately 28% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 84% of them are associated with road transport. One of the most effective ways to enhance the de-carbonization process of the transport sector is through the promotion of electric propulsion, which involves overcoming barriers related to reduced driving autonomy and the long time required to recharge the batteries. This paper develops and implements a method meant to increase the autonomy and reduce the battery charging time of an electric car to comparable levels of an internal combustion engine vehicle. By doing so, the cost of such vehicles is the only remaining significant barrier in the way of a mass spread of electric propulsion. The chosen method is to hybridize the electric powertrain by using an additional source of fuel; hydrogen gas stored in pressurized cylinders is converted, in situ, into electrical energy by means of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell. The power generated on board can then be used, under the command of a dedicated management system, for battery charging, leading to an increase in the vehicle’s autonomy. Modeling and simulation results served to easily adjust the size of the fuel cell hybrid electric powertrain. After optimization, an actual fuel cell was built and implemented on a vehicle that used the body of a Jeep Wrangler, from which the thermal engine, associated subassemblies, and gearbox were removed. Once completed, the vehicle was tested in traffic conditions and its functional performance was established.

Funding source: This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministery of Research and Innovation, CCCDI-UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.2-PCCDI-2017-0776/No. 36 PCCDI/15.03.2018, within PNCDI III.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Romania

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