A collaborative project involving ECOmove, Insero E-Mobility and Serenergy is aiming to produce a fuel cell range extender for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that should boost the distance between charges to at least 497 miles (800 km). The first vehicle to receive the new bio-methanol-based Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECc) cells will be the QBEAK car we featured yesterday.
The air-cooled, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HTPEM) power system with integrated reformer (to allow it to run on bio-methanol) has been developed by Serenergy and will be available as a basic MECc range extender with a 2.5kW fuel cell and tank, but a modular design caters for more cells/tanks to be added for greater range. The system converts bio-methanol into DC current to charge a vehicle's onboard batteries, with waste heat directed to the cabin heating/cooling system.
Incorporating the combined fuel cell/BEV technology into an electric vehicle is claimed to extend its range by at least four times that of many EVs available today and will offer drivers a tank "refuel" time of less than three minutes, similar to gasoline cars. Other reported system benefits include improved charge stability that could extend the life of an EV's batteries, and low cost rollout of fueling points (as the existing fuel distribution infrastructure could be used).
The project is being managed by Insero E-Mobility and will be first implemented in the shortly-to-be-available QBEAK electric vehicle from ECOmove. The group has also secured the backing of the Danish government in the form of financial support under the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program.