Suzuki releases innovative fuel cell power unit

Suzuki releases innovative fuel cell power unit

Press-1405-Fuel-Cell-Power-UnitSuzuki has announced it’s Gen4 air-cooled fuel cell power unit which it says is easily integrated into two-wheel and four-wheeled vehicles.

“Suzuki’s work on next generation power plants has technology reaching production-ready stage and the company will also make it available to other manufacturers,” says Suzuki New Zealand chief executive officer Tom Peck.

The Gen4 is the result of a working collaboration with the British international power technology company Intelligent Energy and Suzuki.

Incorporating Intelligent Energy’s latest proprietary fuel cell technology, Gen4 is a power-dense, compact and self-contained system. Rated for continuous operation at 3.9kW and capable of providing in excess of 4kW for short periods, the power unit is designed as a prime-mover power source for smaller fuel cell electric vehicles and also as a range extender for larger vehicles.

The system offers a zero-emission alternative to conventional internal combustion engines and addresses the problems of limited range often associated with battery only electric vehicles.

Gen4 has been subjected to a comprehensive development process to satisfy demanding automotive requirements based on an extensive test programme. These include shock and vibration testing and repeated thermal cycling over a range of operating temperatures.

Last year SMILE FC System Corporation, a joint venture company established by Suzuki and Intelligent Energy, commissioned a production line capable of manufacturing Gen4 fuel cells in Japan.

“This is a significant step in designing for manufacture and scalable production volume at a time when a number of automotive original equipment manufacturers are bringing fuel cell electric vehicles to market,” says Intelligent Energy motive managing director James Batchelor.

Batchelor says the new Gen4 fuel cell power unit would help vehicle manufacturers save space, reduce weight and cost without compromising performance. By making Gen4 available as a self-contained fuel cell power unit, new and existing customers could be offered a simple solution, reducing time to market for a broad range of zero-emission production vehicles without the high cost and risk associated with in-house development.

Intelligent Energy has already developed the Burgman fuel cell scooter with Suzuki, the first fuel cell vehicle to earn type approval in the European Union.

This zero-emissions scooter uses unique and proprietary PEM fuel cells which are light, compact and well suited to mass manufacture. Intelligent Energy and Suzuki are continuing to work on clean fuel cell powered motor cycles.

Suzuki has also developed a simplified hybrid system that offers affordable petrol-electric hybrid technology. This is less complicated and cheaper than other petrol-electric hybrids and the new system will be introduced on a compact car which will be sold in Japan.

The compact hybrid assist for small engined cars uses a combined starter/generator/motor unit that assists a petrol engine.

Suzuki also has a regenerative braking system in which the car’s kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy during braking. That electricity is sent to a lithium-ion battery and used to power equipment like an air conditioner, thus eliminating any power loss from the petrol engine and allowing the car to accelerate faster.

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