Lightweight fuel cell vehicle enables green mobility

October 05, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Lightweight fuel cell vehicle enables green mobility
In order to come a step closer to the goal of resource-saving, safe mobility, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed a small and particularly light vehicle. The design goals were low weight without compromising safety. Now the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV) had its first ride.

The most important feature of the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV) is a body in sandwich construction, which, despite its extremely low weight of 90 kilograms, is intended to provide a very high level of passive safety. In order to be as resource-efficient as possible, the SLRV has a highly efficient hybrid drive. For the drive train, the DLR researchers have connected a small fuel cell with a continuous output of 8.5 kilowatts to a battery. This provides an additional 25 kilowatts of power for acceleration. This combination weighs less than conventional battery systems, provides a range of around 400 kilometres and enables a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour. Also on board between the two seats is a 39-litre pressure tank that can store 1.6 kilograms of hydrogen at 700 bar. The SLRV uses the waste heat from the fuel cell to heat the interior. In addition, the good thermal insulation of the sandwich body in winter has a positive effect on the energy consumption of the vehicle's air conditioning system.

The body of the two-seater SLRV is 3.8 metres long. In order to achieve the lowest possible air resistance, the silhouette of the vehicle is kept remarkably low. Despite the low weight, the body is light and safe, say the DLR engineers - a combination that existing vehicles in this light vehicle class (L7e) often have only limited performance. This is made possible by the so-called metallic sandwich construction: The material used consists of a metal top layer and a plastic foam inside. The front and rear sections of the SLRV are composed of sandwich panels and serve as crash zones. A large part of the vehicle technology is also located there. The passenger compartment consists of a trough with an attached ring structure. This absorbs the forces acting on the car during the journey and protects the occupants in the event of a crash.

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