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Hydrogen-Powered Commercial Vehicles – The FutureMotiv Way

In the fast-evolving landscape of transportation, FutureMotiv is at the forefront, pioneering cutting-edge solutions to power the future of heavy commercial vehicles.

The heart of FutureMotiv’s work lies in properly harnessing the output of fuel cells within vehicles. Fuel cells generate a substantial amount of power, providing the necessary propulsion for these heavy-duty vehicles. However, unique challenges arise in managing power fluctuations during different driving scenarios.

The power requirements for a hydrogen truck can vary significantly. For instance, when accelerating from a standstill with a fully loaded truck, a substantial amount of power, around 450 kilowatts, may be required, in this scenario balancing the required power between battery and fuel cell is crucial.

The intricate interaction between fuel cells, batteries, and motors is a critical aspect of FutureMotiv’s capability. The simulation models we developed meticulously manage the energy balance requirements, considering factors such as acceleration, deceleration, uphill climbs, and downhill descents. The goal is to optimise the use of both power output modes, ensuring efficient and effective power delivery.

We emphasise the importance of modelling real-world driving cycles, allowing us to predict the necessary capacities for batteries, fuel cells and motors. This data-driven approach allows for a translation of our models into powerful software, intending to eliminate the need for manual coding in future. The result will be a sophisticated model-based algorithm that adapts to various scenarios, from local deliveries to long-haul trips, all while efficiently managing energy consumption.

With fuel cells operating at circa 50% efficiency, a significant amount of heat is generated. Managing this heat is crucial to maintaining optimal performance and improving the longevity of the fuel cell’s life.

To address this, our advanced thermal modelling capabilities enable us to design sophisticated cooling systems that can be seamlessly integrated into any software control algorithms. By carefully balancing energy consumption and thermal management, the reliability and efficiency of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles can be secured.

As the technology inches closer to widespread adoption, we remain mindful of the continuing need for supporting infrastructure. Germany, a leader in this domain, has already taken significant strides in establishing hydrogen filling stations. We envision a future, however, where commercial fleets of hydrogen-powered trucks can efficiently refuel at strategic locations – such as depots or specifically designed transport hubs.

FutureMotiv is exploring applications beyond commercial road vehicles, envisioning a similar transition to hydrogen power for other long-distance transportation methods (e.g. rail). By leveraging their expertise in fuel cell technology and control algorithms, we are able to offer solutions to create a zero-carbon future across haulage and distribution.

FutureMotiv’s work on hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles is a testament to our commitment to creating mobility solutions for a sustainable future. From intricate control algorithms to advanced thermal modelling, our multidisciplinary approach is paving the way for cleaner, and more efficient heavy-duty vehicles. As the first hydrogen trucks hit the test track, it’s evident that FutureMotiv is not just navigating the future but actively steering it towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced horizon.