Automotive

Danish MECc EV project promises 500 mile range and "refuel" time of less than three minutes

Danish MECc EV project promise...
The first EV to use the MECc range extender will be ECOmove's forthcoming QBEAK
The first EV to use the MECc range extender will be ECOmove's forthcoming QBEAK
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The air-cooled, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HTPEM) power system with integrated reformer (to allow it to run on bio-methanol) has been developed by Serenergy and will be first implemented in the shortly-to-be-available QBEAK electric vehicle from ECOmove
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The air-cooled, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HTPEM) power system with integrated reformer (to allow it to run on bio-methanol) has been developed by Serenergy and will be first implemented in the shortly-to-be-available QBEAK electric vehicle from ECOmove
Incorporating the combined fuel cell/BEV technology into an electric vehicle is claimed to extend its range by at least four times that of many EVs available today and will offer drivers a tank "refuel" time of less than three minutes, similar to gasoline cars
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Incorporating the combined fuel cell/BEV technology into an electric vehicle is claimed to extend its range by at least four times that of many EVs available today and will offer drivers a tank "refuel" time of less than three minutes, similar to gasoline cars
The first EV to use the MECc range extender will be ECOmove's forthcoming QBEAK
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The first EV to use the MECc range extender will be ECOmove's forthcoming QBEAK
The system converts bio-methanol into DC current to charge a vehicle's onboard batteries, with waste heat directed to the cabin heating/cooling system
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The system converts bio-methanol into DC current to charge a vehicle's onboard batteries, with waste heat directed to the cabin heating/cooling system
The QBEAK's battery pack will receive charge from an onboard MECc fuel cell
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The QBEAK's battery pack will receive charge from an onboard MECc fuel cell
A fuel cell developed by Serenergy
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A fuel cell developed by Serenergy
View gallery - 6 images

A collaborative project involving ECOmove, Insero E-Mobility and Serenergy is aiming to produce a fuel cell range extender for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that should boost the distance between charges to at least 497 miles (800 km). The first vehicle to receive the new bio-methanol-based Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECc) cells will be the QBEAK car we featured yesterday.

The air-cooled, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HTPEM) power system with integrated reformer (to allow it to run on bio-methanol) has been developed by Serenergy and will be available as a basic MECc range extender with a 2.5kW fuel cell and tank, but a modular design caters for more cells/tanks to be added for greater range. The system converts bio-methanol into DC current to charge a vehicle's onboard batteries, with waste heat directed to the cabin heating/cooling system.

A fuel cell developed by Serenergy
A fuel cell developed by Serenergy

Incorporating the combined fuel cell/BEV technology into an electric vehicle is claimed to extend its range by at least four times that of many EVs available today and will offer drivers a tank "refuel" time of less than three minutes, similar to gasoline cars. Other reported system benefits include improved charge stability that could extend the life of an EV's batteries, and low cost rollout of fueling points (as the existing fuel distribution infrastructure could be used).

The project is being managed by Insero E-Mobility and will be first implemented in the shortly-to-be-available QBEAK electric vehicle from ECOmove. The group has also secured the backing of the Danish government in the form of financial support under the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program.

Sources: ECOmove, Serenergy, Insero E-Mobility

View gallery - 6 images
18 comments
Onihikage
What electric vehicles need is to have a standard battery system that when empty can be hotswapped out for a full one, in exchange for the price of filling up (naturally a markup would be applied since they have to be able to pay for the facility and the initial cost of the new batteries). Naturally the one swapped out would be quickly analyzed for viability before put on the line to be recharged and replaced into another EV. When newer, more advanced batteries come out (with synchronized releases of course, like whenever new video cards come out), stations would have a smaller reserve of the new ones, and allow people to spring for an upgrade.
A different tactic, which would also involve removing the battery, is to place the battery in a bath of supercooled liquid to counteract the heating effect from charging the battery with a much higher voltage input than would otherwise be possible without setting the battery on fire. This way a battery fit to go 500 miles could still charge in a couple of minutes.
Jacob Shepley
Onihikage...and that is more practical? Batteries weigh a LOT. it is not a simple, small car battery. To remove and replace flat EV batteries would take a lot more time than refuelling in the above explained method.
And considering the bio-methanol recycles CO2, it doesn't add extra CO2 into the atmosphere. Depending where you live in the world, the power source used to recharge batteries externally may not come from environmentally friendly sources (I live in a city powered by a coal-burning plant)
A bio-fuel powered fuel cell with 500 mile range and refuel time of 3 minutes (using readily available refuelling infrastructure) is far more practical than your alternative.
Slowburn
So ECOmove and their partners are going to a fuel cell powered car with good range presumably between stops for methanol. Too bad it looks like a cheap plastic toy that got left in a locked car on a hot sunny afternoon.
Why bio-methanol? Natural gas-methanol is cheaper and looks better for the environment. With the appropriate gear to route the battery's out gassing and automatically top of the battery's water from the fuel cell's exhaust and fuel cells that can eat hydrogen directly (I know a given but...) nickel-iron batteries could work well and avoid the problems of more energy dense batteries.
Why fuel cells? ICE has been historically cheaper with a much longer service life. It also can run on a variety of fuels which can come in really useful if you run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere such as between Flagstaff AZ and Albuquerque NM.
Anybody want to do and show the research and math to show which is more efficient when you include manufacturing and proper disposal.
re; Onihikage
How do you intend to establish real energy storage capability of the batteries as opposed to the specification for brand new; you would not want to pay for 5 kw hours and only get 2. Nickle-iron could reduce this to insignificance but the energy density is lousy.
Supercooled liquids are expensive and you would end up using more energy to cool the battery than to charge it.
Besides a battery that carries enough energy to move itself, four people, 100kg of luggage, and of course the car carrying the load at a reasonable speed (115kph) is at least one revolution away.
AngryPenguin
Onihikage, I was thinking almost exactly the same thing.
Ian McIntosh
The idea of hot-swap batteries is already being explored and is quite simple. A basic version of this is already used for electric forklifts in industry. You drive up, disconnect the battery, roll or lift it out and replace with a fresh one, good for another 8 hours. The equipment required to automate the swap would be not much more expensive than the current outlay required for pumping and fuel storage in a contemporary refuel point. Just consider the savings to be made from not having to truck fuel out to refuelling stations....
pointyup
An extension to the hot swap battery for very long distance driving, is a trailer similar to the single wheel 2 hitch ball type (that I currently use to carry my scooter) that requires no special driving skill and handling machinery. Above all the key to succsess in the EV concept is CHEAP. I would be happy with lead acid batteries and a speed of 120 kmph if I could get a range of 350km and home recharging on alternate rechages.
JøhP
Switchable batteries are not just being explored, it is being implemented and in use today in denmark among others.
See http://www.betterplace.com
Red Baker
What does it (will it) cost? Fuel cells are fantastic, but fantastically expensive.
The problem with electric cars is batteries cost about 10 cents a mile, and the grid electricity costs about 4 cents a mile, total cost 14 cents per mile. That compares to $3.40/gallon gas @ 30 mpg (for an efficient car) = 11 cents per mile.
Kenneth.Spicer
Ahh, hello? Read the article and stop the rants. It runs off bio-fuel. The cost of the batteries is marginally important. What IS important is the fact they reduced the overall weight of the car FIRST. And reduced the amount of steel. It's not the WEIGT of a vehicle that makes it safe, it's the "crush space"
bigal
I'm always suspicious when they say 'promises xxxx miles range' et al.