Design and Integration Challenges for a Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Sport Utility Vehicle 2002-01-0095
Large sport utility vehicles have relatively low fuel economy, and thus a large potential for improvement. One way to improve the vehicle efficiency is by converting the drivetrain to hydrogen fuel cell power. Virginia Tech has designed a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle based on converting a Chevrolet Suburban into an environmentally friendly truck. The truck has two AC induction drive motors, regenerative braking to capture kinetic energy, a compressed hydrogen fuel storage system, and a lead acid battery pack for storing energy. The fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle emits only water from the vehicle. The fuel cell stacks have been sized to make the 24 mpg (gasoline equivalent) vehicle charge sustaining, while maintaining the performance of the stock vehicle. The design and integration challenges of implementing these systems in the vehicle are described.