Peugeot starts series production of hydrogen vehicle

Peugeot starts series production of hydrogen vehicle
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Some time ago, the Stellantis vehicle group announced a comprehensive hydrogen strategy. Now the company has taken an important step to turn this strategy into reality.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

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Stellantis company Peugeot is adding a hydrogen fuel cell electric version to its range of compact commercial vehicles. The new Peugeot e-Expert Hydrogen is thus the manufacturer’s first production vehicle to generate electricity using a fuel cell.

The panel van, called the Peugeot e-Expert, has already been available as a battery-powered vehicle since 2020. Now the company is expanding the range of drive principles for this car. The new e-Expert Hydrogen features a “mid-power plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric” system. This Stellantis proprietary development consists of a fuel cell that uses hydrogen in the tank to generate the electricity needed to power the vehicle, and a relatively small high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 10.5 kWh that can be recharged from the power grid and that drives the electric motor during certain driving phases.

Compared to the BEV variant, the hydrogen vehicle is said to be able to be refueled much faster – according to Peugeot, the e-Ecpert Hydrogen can refuel enough hydrogen for a range of more than 400 kilometers in just three minutes. Because the hydrogen refueling network is expected to be fairly sparse at first, the car also has a charging socket for the high-voltage battery.

Stellantis’ mid-power plug-in hydrogen fuel cell “electric” system is designed to combine the benefits of hydrogen, battery technology and electric traction. The hydrogen in the tank powers the fuel cell, which generates the electricity to propel the vehicle over long distances, while the high-voltage battery provides the energy needed for dynamics, among other things. The entire system is integrated into the vehicle to ensure that no compromises are made in terms of volume or payload. The permanent magnet electric motor delivers a maximum power of 100 KW and a torque of 260 Nm. This electric drive is located on the front axle and is similar to that of the Peugeot e-Expert* as a BEV, which is characterized above all by a transmission adapted to the charging conditions for commercial vehicle use.

The high-voltage lithium-ion battery under the cab seats has a capacity of 10.5 kWh and an output of 90 kW. It is charged via an 11 kW three-phase on-board charger located in the engine compartment.

The H2 storage system consists of three tanks located under the vehicle floor. Their total capacity is 4.4 kilograms at a pressure of 700 bar.

The different operating phases of the “mid-power plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric” system are as follows:

  • – At start-up and at low speeds: The high-voltage battery alone supplies the electric motor with the power required for propulsion.
  • – At steady speeds: the fuel cell supplies power directly to the electric motor.
  • – When accelerating, overtaking or driving uphill: The fuel cell and the high-voltage battery are combined to supply energy to the electric motor.
  • – During braking and deceleration, the electric motor charges the high-voltage battery.

The high-voltage battery is guaranteed for at least 70 percent of its charging capacity for eight years or 160,000 kilometers.

The production process will initially be developed and tested in Valenciennes (France); series production is then planned at the Stellantis Competence Center for Hydrogen Technology in Rüsselsheim (Germany). This is also the location of a large-scale production facility for Stellantis’ Opel brand models. For the time being, the model cannot be ordered.

Stellantis estimates the market for compact vans at more than 750,000 vehicles per year in Europe.

www.stellantis.com

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