Just when you thought Volkswagen was finished with the up! concept car, having already revealed the original Frankfurt and Tokyo concepts, the German giant has pulled the covers off an all-new version with a world’s first high temperature fuel cell and lithium-ion power source. Driving on electric power alone, the 60hp (45kW) electric motor takes the space up! blue over a distance of 65 miles, more than enough for most inner city trips.
The new fuel-cell is considerably lighter than current systems and with the lithium-ion battery array and electric drivetrain, the total kerb weight of the concept is just 1,090kg. Over a length of just 144.9 inches, a height of 61.8 inches and a width of 64.2 inches, it offers the space of a considerably larger vehicle.
Its emissions-free electric motor operates in the rear. It delivers an instant 120Nm of torque and spins at 10,000rpm. This is enough to see the car accelerate to 62mph from rest in 13.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 75mph. Also housed in the rear, under the rear seat to be exact, are the lithium-ion batteries. The high temperature fuel cell, on the other hand, is located up front.
Current fuel-cell technology needs to operate over a very specific temperature range. If the temperature rises too much, energy recovery is brought to a standstill. That is why all of these fuel cell designs have relatively large and likewise complex cooling and humidification system. VW’s new design features a special membrane of electrodes designed to make the fuel-cells more effective at high temperatures, while also keeping cost and weight down.
Energy is topped up either via an electrical outlet or by the new high-temperature fuel cell. In the latter case, the car’s range is extended an additional 155 miles. The concept can also draw its power from the sun thanks to a large solar panel on the roof. It supplies up to 150 Watt of energy that is also fed into the battery.
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