Technology | The fuel cell is installed in a one-seater

The development of the hydrogen fuel cell in the automotive world is a process that I find interesting to follow. In my opinion there is a good chance that it will end up in your car in the next few years, in mine, in Mr. and Mrs. Jedermann’s vehicles, you know.

Posted at 11:45am

Bertrand Godin

Bertrand Godin
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The hydrogen fuel cell seems to offer consumers a good alternative to the battery-electric system that is currently the trend.

For the sake of clarity, we are talking here about a fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electrical energy. With this option, users could certainly access a better choice in the electric car space of tomorrow, which is not such a bad thing.

However, there is one other advantage of the hydrogen fuel cell that should be appreciated and that is not trivial. Note that refueling with hydrogen can be done in just a few minutes, in contrast to the time it takes to charge electric vehicles on the market.

When the cell actually reaches our cars one day, the user only has to fill up their vehicle with hydrogen at a specialized station, similar to what we currently do with gasoline. Apart from the fact that the fuel is not liquid but a gas that does not emit greenhouse gases, so its exhaust pipe gives off vapor when the vehicle is driving on the road, that’s all.

The BAC e Mono


The BAC e Mono

This means that the hydrogen fuel cell is finding its way into the automotive industry. Today it’s the small British car manufacturer BAC (Briggs Automotive Company) based in Liverpool that comes to us with something new by introducing a new single seater sports car that they are working on, a race car powered by fuel cell hydrogen: the BAC e Mono. And the tests look promising.

In a series of numerical simulations, BAC determined that this car should have a top speed of 265 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.2 seconds. All the same.

In fact, it seems that this new car is faster compared to the regular version, despite a heavier weight of 149 kg. In fact, in digital testing, the e-Mono has shown it gained two seconds on each lap of the Silverstone circuit in England.

And it could get even better as its weight has been further reduced. A carbon housing for the fuel cell could reduce it by 15 to 20 kg, and with a new battery module currently under development it could weigh another 30 kg less.

These are all advances that suggest we could eventually become even more efficient and that a possible electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell could be quite enjoyable to drive.

The reputation of BAC


The BAC e Mono

You should know that the British manufacturer is already recognized as a pioneer in the automotive industry and its development work on the e-Mono is apparently no exception. The racing car raises the bar even higher and doesn’t leave the fans cold.

To this day, driving enthusiasts are quite taken with the e-Mono. You see in this vehicle a perfect combination of autonomy, performance and zero emissions, therefore impeccable in terms of carbon footprint.

But lately, BAC has been innovating again. In collaboration with the British technology company Viritech, the manufacturer has developed a solution to install the battery as far as possible under the seat of its vehicle and to have the fuel cell for storing hydrogen right next to it.

It was this car that underwent the simulation tests and it was found that the e-Mono was two seconds faster per lap at Silverstone. Despite this, the single-seater was able to complete ten laps before having to refuel.

On the road, it is estimated that the vehicle’s range could be 225 km and that with ongoing improvements in fuel cell efficiency could increase the range of vehicles by 50%, and this is here in 2024. In other words, tomorrow.

At the moment, BAC has not yet sent its e-Mono into production, but the feasibility studies are conclusive. At the automaker, we now hope to have the funding needed to move on to the proof of concept phase and eventually to the production phase.

Well, we agree, the release date is far from being announced. But personally I can’t wait to see more and most importantly to take a test drive.

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