Environmentally friendly vehicles are hotly debated in the automotive industry because they provide motorists with the freedom and efficiency of a standard vehicle without harming the environment. Nevertheless, the number of environmentally friendly vehicles is still low in many European cities.
With the exception of Norway – a country fully convinced of the successful future of the electric car – less than 5% of vehicles registered on Europe’s roads are powered by electric motors with a view to saving on conventional petroleum-based fuels.
The catastrophic consequences for the environment caused by vehicles with internal combustion engines have been extensively documented. So why are their more environmentally friendly counterparts not further widespread?
An important aspect concerns the prejudice of many motorists that environmentally friendly vehicles do not have the same performance as those powered by fossil fuel. However, this claim is easily refuted. Many pessimists are convinced that environmentally friendly vehicles have disadvantages in terms of speed or energy efficiency, which already precludes them as a realistic alternative for most drivers. However, this is not the case. The technology for developing environmentally friendly vehicles that can keep up with the advancement of conventional combustion engines already exists.
What makes us so sure? Because we were involved in the planning and development of one of these vehicles earlier this year.
In May, we supplied the global automotive supplier Magna with an individually designed HyRange hydrogen fuel cell system for their hybrid vehicle.
It was given the name Fuel Cell Range Extended Electric Vehicle – or FC REEV for short. Unlike a conventional hybrid engine based on a combination of gasoline or diesel and electric drive, the FC REEV is operated both electronically and with hydrogen, thus achieving emission-free hybrid drive.
The typical attraction of a hybrid vehicle is the choice between environmentally friendly electric drive at slower speeds – for example, in the inner city area – and gasoline or diesel, if it has to go faster. This approach was retained by FC REEV, whereby gasoline and diesel fuel were replaced with hydrogen. Thus, the same electric motor type can be reused without resorting to polluting fossil fuels.
A positive side effect of the HyRange fuel cell system is its sound; the engine is much quieter than its counterpart, the internal combustion engine. Thus, the FC REEV not only ensures less air pollution but could potentially even contribute to reducing noise pollution. Imagine a world in which all vehicles would make use of such a drive. The negative effects of noise pollution emanating from major roadways would be much reduced.
This vehicle not only impresses with its pollutant-free drive, it also scores in terms of speed and efficiency. It has a range of up to 500 kilometres without refuelling and reaches a top speed of 130 km / hour (or 80 miles). Thus, the maximum speed is close to or above the current maximum speed in most European countries, whereby the change to an environmentally friendly hybrid vehicle in principle, brings hardly any disadvantages.
The main difference between the FC REEV and a conventional hybrid vehicle is in hydrogen and is of great importance. It is easier than is often assumed to run hydrogen on vehicles, using technologies that already exist. And the best part? The whole thing is 100% environmentally friendly. It is by no means a vision of the future that still needs to be realised. Already today this technology is being used in vehicles.
Such vehicles using the HyRange fuel system are 100% emission free. This puts them far ahead of classic hybrid vehicles in terms of environmental protection. Hydrogen fuel cells guarantee the highest performance and lowest fuel consumption with minimal environmental impact. At Proton Motor, we see ourselves as pioneers of hydrogen evolution, with the mission to provide environmentally friendly drive solutions for a variety of mobile and stationary systems.
Maybe you run your own business and want to improve your carbon footprint. The hydrogen-fuel cell system gives you the power to provide your entire business with renewable energy. Computers, lights, telephones, and nearly all electronic devices and equipment in your office can be fed with environmentally friendly energy in this way. While you’re at it, you can equip your employees’ company cars with HyRange systems to boost their awareness of environmental issues.
So, if you are considering buying a new vehicle, but are worried about your carbon footprint, you should seriously consider using hydrogen fuel cells. It’s easier than you might think.