Symbio FCell Delivers First 5 Hydrogen Renault Kangoo Z.E.s

FEB 3 2015 BY MARK KANE 13

Symbio FCell's hydrogen fuel cell range-extender

Symbio FCell’s hydrogen fuel cell range-extender

French company Symbio FCell delivered the first 5 out of 40 Renault Kangoo Z.E.s with hydrogen fuel cell range-extenders.

The electric vans are equipped with an ALP10 5 kW FC stack, which support batteries (at a certain level of discharge) to double the range.

The 1.8 kg hydrogen tank is good for up to 100 miles according to the press release, although we don’t know how much theses modifications cost.

“In a major step towards the commercial deployment of zero-emission hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, Symbio FCell has put on the road the first five Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) powered by its hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender, as part of a full fleet project led by the Conseil Général de la Manche which will rapidly deploy 40 vehicles. This project demonstrates the effectiveness of hydrogen power but also the reliability of Symbio FCell’s as the world-leading provider hydrogen fuel cell Range-Extender.”

“La Manche indeed counts amongst the first departments in France to own a hydrogen filling station (active in Saint Lo) and five plug-in hybrid battery fuel cell light vehicles. Furthermore, it has an important potential for low-carbon electricity production, based on marine renewable energies (hydrokinetic and offshore wind) and nuclear.”

“The Conseil Général de la Manche aims to put on the road a total of forty hydrogen-powered Renault Kangoo ZE utility vehicles equiped with the Symbio FCell Range-Extender. This technology recharges the battery when it drops below a certain level and permits the vehicle to be refueled with 1.8kg of hydrogen, 1kg of which powers a distance of over 100km; the range-extender therefore almost doubles the daily range of battery powered vehicles, a significant improvement that makes hydrogen-powered electric vehicles more competitive in the automotive markets.”

Symbio FCell offers hydrogen fuel cell stacks from 5 kW to 300 kW.

Fabio Ferrari, CEO of Symbio FCell stated:

‘The ‘Range-Extender’ increases both driving range and availability of Electric vehicles for commercial usage, while reducing the investment in battery recharging infrastructure for large fleet. Closer to a traditional ICE vehicle, this ensures seamless operations for professional intensive urban usages as demonstrated in previous experimentations such as La Poste’.

Symbio FCell videos below:

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13 Comments on "Symbio FCell Delivers First 5 Hydrogen Renault Kangoo Z.E.s"

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Well, this vehicle at least makes sense. Pretty much all FC vehicles should be plug-in hybrids.

It is the only reasonable solution without a hydrogen infrastructure. You could basically build a hydrogen infrastructure in the same way you build a quick charge infrastructure.
Matching the 100,000 US fueling stations for pure hydrogen makes no sense and never will.

Then again, in a decade when batteries reach the nirvana of 100kWh, it could end all extenders.

$100/kWh (edit)

Hydrogen tank costs are already at below $40 /kWh, DOE target is $4 /kWh.

Batteries are more efficient and, IMO, should always make up some of the vehicle’s range but if you only need 20 kWh most of the time why pay an extra $6500 (100 * 65) to $16500 (250 * 65) for the extra battery that you use once a month? There’s no need to be purest about it if a fuel cell is 20% as efficient but drops the vehicle weight by 1/3, gives you all the range you need when you need it and the H2 is made in a sustainable way, just kick back and enjoy the ride.

Which makes it all the more bizarre that these vans have only 1.8kg tanks.

If you’re gonna use fuel cells, why skimp on the tank size? The whole point of FCs is to get more range than a battery and refuel quickly.

Cheaper tank for smaller size. 1.8 kg of H2 is like 4 gallons of gas = 200 miles in city driving, since this is also a hybrid.
And as it can be filled quickly, why spend more for a giant tank that will take up space in the van if it will be rarely needed? This is not for long haul. It is for city driving only. So, I think this is a perfect, practical design.

A 5 kW fuel cell.
Wow! That’s almost 7 HP! As powerful as my grandpa’s pre-worldwar2 Austin 7.

As I recall, that car did 35mph quite handily going down hill.

The mind boggles.

That is only used to recharge the battery slowly as it loses its stored energy. It is enough for the purpose, no need to over design. The delivery van won’t be doing non-stop drag racing, so it doesn’t need 500 hp fcell pack.

Well, I admit that’s one way of looking at it.

But to put it in perspective; it’s a bit like dragging around an AC cord, permanently plugged in to a 6.6kW charger. When the battery charge hits bottom, it’s down to 7 horsepower. Not most people’s idea of an EREV.

Seriously though, the Kangoo’s configuration puts it more in the category of Fuel cell vehicle with a more or less continously running Fuel Cell.
And I can see how that might work for a delivery vehicle with a significant ratio of stop time to run time (think USPO mail) where the FC can continue to run and charge while the vehicle is stationary.

So, O.K. this little beauty has its merits.

I like this concept, a small fuel cell that costs a lot per kW matched with a small battery pack that costs a lot per kWh. The battery provides the kW and the fuel cell provides the kWh makes perfect sense to me

I think it’s a shame that Renault are stepping back from their all-electric approach.

If you insist on using fuel cells, this is the way to do it.

technology and the market will decide.