PHOTO CAPTION: La Poste Renault Kangoo ZE similar to those to be equipped with Symbio FCell range extender.

French Put Fuel Cell Range Extender to the Test

With a full battery charge and 1.72kg of compressed hydrogen of board, total range for the hydrogen range-extender Renaults is 200 miles.

Published: 31-Jan-2014

In the raging battle for future automotive sustainability you’re either pro-hydrogen fuel cell or pro-battery-electric. Honda FCEV or Tesla Model S. Electrolysis or redox. It is a choice, but you cannot – could not ever – be for both. Especially not at the same time. It’s unthinkable.

Or is it?

An innovative solution has come from an unlikely source, and from early this year a small fleet of electric vans belonging to the iconic French postal service, La Poste, with experiment with hydrogen fuel cell range-extenders. The idea is to offer range beyond that of normal electric cars without emitting any harmful emissions, while keeping the whole thing affordable – something currently akin to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.


General Motors Equinox SUV fuel cell demonstrator, one of several in operation in Hawaii.

While fuel cells powered by very pure hydrogen gas can solve some of the problems of battery electric cars, they also bring challenges of their own.

General Motors Hy-Wire fuel cell concept car circa 2002 was powered by hydrogen fuel cell.

Proposed program would mark a reversal of US Energy Departments previous scaling back of hydrogen research during President Obama's first term, though it will lack the same level of resources as the FreedomCAR program under George W. Bush.

Sunline Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus similar to that to be deployed in Connecticut.

Ballard, BAE Systems and ElDorado National collaborate on hydrogen fuel cell transit buses that will be deployed by CTTransit, as well as in Palm Springs, Ca.


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