Provoq: Cadillac's crossover fuel cell concept
February 1, 2008 The latest platform for GM’s zero-emissions E-Flex architecture comes in the guise of a luxurious crossover vehicle - the Cadillac Provoq. The all-electric drive Provoq combines the fuel cell system with a lithium-ion battery to achieve a 300 mile range, 100 mph top-speed and all-wheel-drive traction via a 70 kW co-axial drive system for the front wheels and separate 40 kW wheel hub motors at the rear. The sleek design also harbors a number of other innovations including active front grille louvers that close at speed to boost aerodynamics, push-to-release door handles, brake-by-wire technology and an integrated solar panel in the roof that supplements power for onboard accessories.
Making its world debut on two very big stages during January - the International CES and the Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) - the Cadillac Provoq uses fifth-generation fuel cell technology that produces more power than its predecessor whilst being half the size. The fuel-cell variant of the E-Flex system (the same propulsion system that underpins the plug-in, all-electric Chevrolet Volt http://www.gizmag.com/go/6693/ Concept unveiled at the 2007 NAIAS) produces no emission other than water.
The 300 mile (483 km) range consists of 280 miles (450 km) from a tank of hydrogen plus an extra 20 miles (32 km) on battery electric energy alone. There's also a plug-in feature which facilitates overnight charging via ports mounted in the fender to extend the driving range.
The Provoq doesn't lay claim to supercar performance (remember this car uses no gasoline), but nonetheless reaches 60 mph from a standing start in 8.5 seconds, a 30-percent improvement on the previous-generation fuel cell system.
Generating 88 kW continuous power, the fuel stack located under the hood is fed by two 10,000 psi (700 bar) composite storage tanks beneath the rear cargo floor, each holding 13.2 pounds (6 kg) of hydrogen.
Taking its cues for the new Cadillac CTS, the Provoq design incorporates signature vertical taillamps with subtle fin design, side glass mounted flush with pillars and the aforementioned active front grille louvers that close at highway speed and re-open at low speed to provide maximum cooling to the fuel cell stack. Aerodynamics is also enhanced by a full underbody cover, "wind tunnel-shaped" outside mirrors and a low-drag roof rack.
Inside, GM are keen to point out that the the fuel cell powertrain does not impede on passenger or cargo room expected from a crossover SUV. The five-seater includes a 60/40-split folding rear seat and a full cargo area incorporating an auxiliary power outlet and a load floor that is level with the hatch opening.
The cockpit cluster features reconfigurable LCD displays and the prominent center stack houses the audio and climate systems, as well as a navigation system that rises out of the top of the instrument panel. An on-board hard drive stores navigation maps, songs and other data.
The fully enclosed storage compartment in the center console houses ports for USB-connected devices plus a cell phone holder with built-in Bluetooth and inductive charging.
The use of recycled and recyclable materials further boosts the Provoq's green credentials. For example the headliner is wrapped in a fully recyclable soy-based material and the carpet is made of recycled polyester and jute.
“Cadillac is a natural fit for GM’s next step in developing the E-Flex platform,” says Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. “Cadillac, at its very essence, is about premium luxury, design and technology, so it’s fitting that Cadillac would be propelled by the most elegant solution. This signals Cadillac’s intent to lead the industry with alternative-fuel technology.”