Volkswagen of America, Inc. has recently announced North American debut
of the Tiguan HyMotion Fuel Cell Concept. Originally shown at the
Shanghai Motor Show and the 2007 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, the
Tiguan HyMotion highlights the current state of Volkswagen's hydrogen
fuel cell research and development. The HyMotion is built on
Volkswagen's Tiguan sport-utility vehicle, but utilizes a hydrogen fuel
cell system, which promises over 107 horsepower and produces zero
tailpipe emissions (clean water vapor is its only bi-product). The
innovative new Tiguan builds upon Volkswagen's ongoing development of
the fuel cell as previously demonstrated with the Touran HyMotion.
If you build it, they will come: I'm a huh-yooge fan of hydrogen-based fuel systems, and am happy to see another hydrogen fuel cell vehicle entering the alternative-fuel vehicle collection. I'm hoping that the presence of another hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will further encourage fuel providers to develop the fueling infrastructure required to allow these vehicles to make it into the mainstream.
Do You Wonder How it Works?
The Tiguan HyMotion concept features a fuel cell system integrated in the engine compartment; assisted by an the electric motor, the propulsion system promises a total of 134 horsepower. Volkswagen says the top speed of the Tiguan HyMotion is 93 mph and that it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 14 seconds.
In a system that works much like the typical gas-electric hybrid engine combination, a lithium-ion battery with a charge capacity of 6.8 Ampere-hours (Ah) serves as an auxiliary energy storage device with a maximum power output of 22 kW. The battery is charged by recovered braking energy (recuperation) or by the fuel cell. This increased functionality and efficiency does not impair the interior space of the vehicle. The battery system is installed in the trunk beneath the dual cargo floor available on the production Tiguan. The 700-bar hydrogen tank was integrated in the area beneath the floor in the rear bench seat and cargo area. It can hold up to 3.2 kilograms of hydrogen (H2).
Basic Operation of Fuel Cells
The key component of each individual fuel cell - a number of them are combined into a stack - is a proton-conducting membrane located between each anode and cathode pair. Hydrogen flows on the anode side, and air flows into the cell on the cathode side. When many of these cells are combined in a stack, enough energy can be generated to drive a vehicle.
In each cell, hydrogen and oxygen react to form water on the cathode side. The fuel cell thereby converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy in an oxidation, or "cold" combustion process. The generated "exhaust" is clean water vapor.
The fuel cell is supplied fuel from the hydrogen tank and oxygen from the air by an external air inlet and outputs the electrical energy it generates - the power - via a converter and a downstream electrical system rectifier - to one or more electric motors. As with other hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the Tiguan HyMotion is nearly silent when driven and is emissions-free.
About Volkswagen's Current Fuel Efficient Vehicles
Unfortunately, the Tiguan HyMotion Is not yet available for consumer purchase, though Volkswagen does offer other fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible vehicle choices, such as the new Tiguan utility vehicle and the Jetta TDI, offered in both sedan and SportWagen body styles. These vehicles promise efficiency, utility, and performance along with the refinement and interior appointment that is typical of Volkswagen vehicles. The well-refined four-cylinder turbocharged engines - the Jetta utilizing Volkswagen's TDI technology and the Tiguan the fuel efficient TSI - provide ample horsepower and prodigious torque to make these vehicles sporty, efficient and fun to drive.
The 2009 Jetta TDI sedan and SportWagen clean diesel TDI's will be available in the United States in August 2008. The Jetta TDI promises to have an immediate impact on fuel savings in a big way - up to 35 percent savings compared to a similar gasoline engines. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Jetta TDI at an economical 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
Volkswagen engineers claim to have reduced NOx emissions by 90 percent on the TDI engine, through internal engine modifications and new catalytic converter technologies. This advance in diesel technology allows the Jetta TDI to exceed the toughest emissions requirements, including the "LEV2" standard, which limits NOx emissions to 70 mg per mile.
The new 2009 Tiguan comes standard with a 2.0L TSI engine delivering turbocharged acceleration while maintaining responsible fuel efficiency of 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. This award-winning direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder four-cylinder power plant delivers 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions are optional.
Find out more about all these vehicles at vw.com.
By Brandy Schaffels