The British Arcola Energy announced a new proprietary fuel cell powertrain platform, designed for heavy-duty vehicle applications. The ‘A-Drive’ architecture offers a “drop-in replacement” for diesel-based powertrains and is scalable, according to Arcola.
The company names a range of heavy-duty fleets, trucks, municipal operations and public transport applications, including buses and trains. These all require high-duty cycle capabilities, and fast refuelling says Arcola.
“Combining an efficient electric powertrain with the high energy density of hydrogen, Arcola’s HFC A-Drive platform readily delivers twice the practical range of battery-only solutions. This enables fleets to work a full day of heavy-duty service on just one 10-minute hydrogen fill,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy. He added, “The A-Drive platform delivers the integration required to realise these benefits quickly in real-world applications.”
Real-world applications that appear not even a year away. The company plans to market a range of vehicles based on the new architecture from 2021. The A-Drive incorporates a fuel cell motor, converting hydrogen directly to electricity onboard, and a hydrogen storage tank array comprising multiple monitoring and safety systems, says Arcola.
It took ten years development and testing before the A-Drive platform was ready to integrate the performance of all the systems: fuel cell, battery, hydrogen storage, power electronics, thermal management, motor and brakes, according to Arcola. The company claims they can size each component for a particular vehicle, and to deliver the performance requirements of the application accordingly. The platform also communicates the data required by drivers and fleet managers.
“The A-Drive is adaptable to several vehicle types and applications, saving both development time and cost,” Ben Todd said. “As the platform is a production-ready solution, we can help accelerate the introduction of the critical heavy-duty transport solutions that are required to meet the governments’ timescales for reaching net-zero carbon emissions.”
We last heard from Arcola Energy when the company signed responsible for the fuel cell system in the Optare double-decker bus scheduled for service in 2021.
Arcola Energy will build the fuel cell system at its Liverpool plant and is planning a second production facility at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee.
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