This article describes the activities carried out for the hybridization of an electric light-duty vehicle by means of a fuel cell system for a typical golf car application.
The configuration used is that of an extended range electric vehicle with a fuel cell, based on a 200W polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell. The vehicle’s propulsion system includes two energy storage sources: the first one consists of a lead-acid battery pack and the second one of hydrogen stored in metal hydrides with the aim to extend the autonomy of the golf car. The performance has been set based on the current regulation and is therefore within the range for these types of vehicles. This arrangement extends autonomy by 38% as opposed to the pure electric vehicle (EV) in electrical mode, which allows for making at least two more trips with a hydrogen tank filled with 0.085 kg H2.
This project was born from a private company (EPHISA-Española de Pilas de Hidrógeno S.A.) in order to study and develop new alternatives and bring the benefits of hydrogen technologies closer to society. The Institute of Automotive Research (INSIA) and the Center for Industrial Electronics (CEI), both belonging to Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, participated in the development of this vehicle prototype.
A vehicle with the same physical characteristics as the proposed vehicle has been sensing for conducting the preliminary tests, carried out in a golf course circuit, in such a way that the data obtained were valid for the study. As a result of these tests, the typical route characteristics (speed and height profile versus time and distance) were obtained, as well as the traction power and energy required for completing the proposed routes.