First hydrogen fuel cell car in India completes trials successfully

First hydrogen fuel cell car in India completes trials successfully

November 2, 2020 1 By Erin Kilgore

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Trials were conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and KPIT.

KPIT and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) collaborated on trials for battery electric passenger vehicles retrofitted into an indigenously developed hydrogen fuel cell car.

KPIT is a pure based multinational Corporation and worked with CSIR on these Indian trials.

The hydrogen fuel cell car trials were successful. The vehicle featured a low temperature PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type fuel cell developed in India. The fuel cells stack was developed jointly between KPIT and CSIR. It was a 10 kWe automotive grade LT-PEMFC unit combining the expertise at CSIR and membrane electrode assembly and the stack engineering experience at KPIT.

This included the lightweight metal bipolar plate as well as the design of the gasket, control software, system integration, and electric powertrain. This fuel cell stack was unique in its use of exceptionally thin metal bipolar plates. As a result, the engineers were able to reduce the weight of the stack by approximately two thirds. Moreover, it operated at 65 to 75 degrees Celsius, which is appropriate for vehicular applications.

Both KPIT and CSIR joined this partnership for the purpose of developing a viable hydrogen fuel cell car technology.

The collaboration between CSIR and KPIT had a specific goal to develop an automotive grade PEM fuel cell technology. This partnership began in 2016. The organizations came together under the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI). The NMITLI is an initiative created to build public to private partnerships within the research and development field.

The trials were carried out on a battery electric passenger car platform which was retrofitted to the fuel cell stack. The hydrogen fuel cell car was equipped with the Type III commercial H2 tank. The tanks capacity was approximately 1.75 kilograms of H2 stored at a pressure of hydrogen fuel cell car - fuel cell vehicle350 bar. This emission free vehicle has a range of approximately 250 kilometers under typical road conditions in India at average driving speeds of 60 to 65 kilometers per hour.