Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tiguan HyMotion in California

California is known for many things. Clean air isn't one of them. That's why automakers find it the best place to debut their zero-emission offerings, Volkswagen included. They recently showed off the Tiguan HyMotion based on the small Volkswagen SUV of the same name. However, instead of the standard 2.0L turbo in the hood, the Tiguan HyMotion uses hydrogen fuel cells powering an electric motor. This combination produces 107 horsepower however power can also be taken from the auxiliary batteries (charged by brake energy) upping the horsepower to 134. It takes the concept Tiguan 14 seconds to reach 60 with a top speed of 93 mph. If you think performance is less than stellar then you've missed the point of the whole exercise. Considering that all it emits is water, that's very good.

Obviously, fuel cell powered cars are still some ways away. The infrastructure for hydrogen refueling stations needs to be laid before fuel cell cars reach mainstream success. However this is coming, no doubt, as people are looking for a permanent alternative to oil.

Press release and pictures after the jump.

Source: Volkswagen

HERNDON, Va.-Volkswagen of America, Inc. is showcasing its broad range of near-term and future fuel-efficient powertrain technologies with the all-new 2.0 liter TSI Tiguan, the upcoming 2.0 liter Jetta TDI and the North American debut of the Tiguan HyMotion Fuel Cell Concept.

Originally shown at the Shanghai Motor Show and the 2007 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, the Tiguan HyMotion highlights the current state of Volkswagen's hydrogen fuel cell research and development. The Tiguan HyMotion features a hydrogen fuel cell system, which provides over 107 horsepower and produces zero tailpipe emissions (clean water vapor is its only bi-product). The innovative new Tiguan builds upon Volkswagen's ongoing development of the fuel cell as previously demonstrated with the Touran HyMotion.

Volkswagen has long been committed to fuel efficient, environmentally responsible vehicles and this is evident with the new Tiguan utility vehicle and the Jetta TDI, offered in both sedan and SportWagen body styles. These vehicles provide efficiency, utility and performance in the refinement and interior appointment that is the hallmark of all Volkswagen vehicles. The well-refined four cylinder turbocharged engines – the Jetta utilizing Volkswagen's TDI technology and the Tiguan the fuel efficient TSI – provide ample horsepower and prodigious torque to make these vehicles sporty, efficient and fun to drive.

Tiguan HyMotion
The Tiguan HyMotion concept features a fuel cell system integrated in the engine compartment capable of 107 horsepower. With an assist from the electric motor, the Tiguan HyMotion advances to 134 horsepower. The top speed of the Tiguan HyMotion is 93 mph and it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 14 seconds.

A lithium ion battery with a charge capacity of 6.8 Ampere-hours (Ah) serves as an auxiliary energy storage device with a maximum power output of 22 kW. The battery is charged by recovered braking energy (recuperation) or by the fuel cell. This increased functionality and efficiency does not impair the interior space of the vehicle. The battery system is installed in the trunk beneath the dual cargo floor available on the production Tiguan. The 700 bar hydrogen tank was integrated in the area beneath the floor in the rear bench seat and cargo area. It can hold up to 3.2 kilograms of hydrogen (H2).

Basic operation of fuel cells
The key component of each individual fuel cell – a number of them are combined into a stack – is a proton-conducting membrane. It is located between each anode and cathode pair. Hydrogen flows on the anode side, and air flows into the cell on the cathode side. When many of these cells are combined in a stack, enough energy can be generated to drive a vehicle.

In each cell, hydrogen and oxygen react to form water on the cathode side. The fuel cell thereby converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy in an oxidation, or "cold" combustion process. The generated "exhaust" is clean water vapor.

The fuel cell is supplied fuel from the hydrogen tank and oxygen from the air by an external air inlet and outputs the electrical energy it generates – the power – via a converter and a downstream electrical system rectifier – to one or more electric motors. The Tiguan HyMotion is nearly silent when driven, and it is emissions-free.


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