Under the Skin: How BAC Uses a Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Drive Faster Car News

The manufacturer of the BAC Mono sports car has completed the first stage of a project with hydrogen powertrain specialist Viritech to develop an electric version of an ultra-light car called the BAC e-Mono.

The virtual four-wheel-drive e-Mono weighs 704kg, just 149kg more than the conventionally powered BAC Mono-R, but still proves to be just over 2.0 seconds faster in a lap simulated digital from Silverstone.

One of the best ways to advance new and advanced powertrain technologies is to run them in high-performance cars, where weight and packaging are at a premium. Although electric vehicle batteries perform well enough to hit showrooms in large numbers, their colossal weight and size are still at odds with using power to move cars more efficiently.

With the diminutive Mono, there was nowhere to hide from this reality. BAC calculated that a battery-electric solution would have added 50% to the weight of the car and, while capable of the same absolute performance, the extra bulk would have adversely affected its agility and cornering ability. The solution was to leverage Viritech’s expertise in small, lightweight fuel cell systems to design a fuel cell powertrain that fits into the same chassis and body shell as the conventional Mono.

Although it was assumed from the outset that the fuel cell system – consisting of a fuel cell, a hydrogen tank and a 20 kWh battery – would weigh more than the gasoline engine at four cylinders and the fuel tank, the difference wouldn’t be enough to compromise the Mono’s capability. An advantage of packaging all fuel cell systems is that they can be distributed in the chassis.

In this case, the battery was mounted as far as possible under the seat, its housing becoming a structural element of the chassis. This in turn increased packing space, with the fuel cell mounted above the battery and its air compressor tucked inside the air intake nacelle through which the engine gas is breathing normally. It also works with a projected 371 hp produced by the four axial flux electric motors.

Two wheel motors up front produce 55 hp each, while two inboard motors driving the rear wheels produce the remaining 261 hp. Power is supplied at 400 V by a combination of 80 kW fuel cell and 197 kW battery. In the simulated laps of Silverstone, the e-Mono improved the Mono-R’s time by 2.07 seconds, to 2 min 4.23 seconds. Top speed is 165 mph and 0-62 mph takes 2.2 seconds.

On-road range is calculated at 166 miles on the WLTP cycle, which equates to an estimated true range of 140 miles. Fuel cell design improvements are expected to increase range by 50% by 2024, bringing actual range to around 210 miles. Further developments in the form of a carbon fiber housing for the fuel cell and a new battery module are expected to bring the weight difference between the e-Mono and Mono-R down to around 100kg or so. .

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This notice was published: 2022-06-12 23:01:24

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