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Development and Comparison of the Test Methods Proposed in the Chinese Test Specifications for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles


Fuel cell electric vehicles are generally considered to have broad development prospects due to their high efficiency and zero emissions. The governments of the United States, Japan, the European Union, and China are taking action to promote the development of the industry. In 2020, China launched a fuel cell electric vehicle demonstration project, and there will be 30∼50 thousand FCEVs included in this project by the end of 2025. How to standardize the consistency of data and develop a unified and accurate evaluation method is an important topic. The difficulty is how to keep balance among scientificity, neutrality and feasibility in the evaluation method. In order to evaluate the performance of vehicles in demonstration operation projects, China has issued the "Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Test Specifications", which is an important guide for the future development of fuel cell electric vehicles in China. This paper compares the test methods for critical parameters in this specifications with those used in the United States and Japan. It explains China’s technical considerations in detail, including fuel cell system rated power, the volume power density of the fuel cell stack, fuel cell system specific power, fuel cell system sub-zero cold start, and fuel cell electric vehicle range contributed by hydrogen. For the volume power density of the fuel cell stack as an example, both the US Department of Energy and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization have proposed technical goals. However, the lack of specific and detailed test methods has confused the industry. We propose a new test method using bipolar plate measurement based on scientificity, feasibility and neutrality This is the first time to define the measuring method of the volume and specific power density of the fuel cell stack. For sub-zero cold start, we put forward a feasible scheme for sub-zero cold start at the system level. For range contributed by hydrogen, we propose a new test method that can distinguish the contributing of electric and hydrogen energy. Furthermore, a hydrogen-to-electric conversion formula is proposed to calculate the equivalent hydrogen consumption, which makes it possible to compare the energy consumption between plug-in and non-plug-in vehicles. At the same time, this approach is significant in helping fuel cell-related enterprises to understand the formulation of China’s “Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Test Specifications”. It should also be helpful for guiding product design and predicting fuel cell electric vehicle policy direction in China.

Funding source: The authors appreciate financial supports from the National Key Research and Development Program, China (2018YFE0105400) and China Automotive Technology & Research Center Key Research Program (20220118).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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