Volkswagen Unveils Its First Fuel-Cell Car

Volkswagen Unveils Its First Fuel-Cell Car

Automaker Volkswagen unveiled its first fuel cell-powered car at the recent opening of the California Fuel Cell Partnership's new headquarters in Sacramento. The car, called the Bora HyMotion, carries 50 liters (13.2 gallons) of liquid hydrogen to fuel a 75-kilowatt (100 horsepower) engine. The Bora model is commonly known as the Jetta in the United States.

According to Volkswagen, the HyMotion’s engine uses an advanced fuel cell that transforms hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy for the electric motor. The only by-product from this process is water vapor.

In the HyMotion, the fuel cell’s engine works at the core of the car’s drive system, which allows it to run more efficiency than a typical combustion engine. Further, with this fuel cell system, the most efficient operation is realized at mid throttle, which is the throttle range used the most during driving.

The Bora HyMotion tank has a capacity of 50 liters of liquid hydrogen at -253° C. This is an energy equal to 12 liters of gasoline covering a range of about 350 kilometers. The electric motor operates quietly, without vibration. The asynchronous electric motor has a power output of 75 kW and with 240 Nm of torque in a large revving range; the Bora accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.6 seconds, reaching a top speed of 140 km/h.

Partnership's Grand Opening

The unveiling of this prototype comes in conjunction with the celebration of the grand opening of the headquarters for the historic California Fuel Cell Partnership, which was formed in April 1999 to pave the way for demonstrating fuel cell vehicles. Private companies and public agencies formed the California Fuel Cell Partnership to help advance this technology that promises practical, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation solutions for California and the world.

The Partnership includes auto manufacturers (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, and soon GM and Toyota), energy providers (BP, Shell, Texaco), fuel cell companies (Ballard Power Systems and International Fuel Cells), and government agencies (the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District).

Volkswagen joined the Fuel Cell Partnership in October 1999.

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