Lightweight Opportunities for Fuel Cell Vehicles 2005-01-0007
This paper examines the lightweighting opportunities for mid-size passenger direct hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and considers whether lightweighting would facilitate the early commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. The commercial viability of fuel cell vehicles is examined in the context of several advanced lightweight body-in-white (BIW) material options alone, as well as in combinations with improvements in fuel cell powertrain. A system level automotive cost model is used to capture the component level weight and cost implications at the overall vehicle level. Although lightweight materials alone may not be able to achieve the desired vehicle weight and cost goals, they are definitely anticipated to aid in the early commercialization of fuel cell vehicles by imposing less restrictive requirements in fuel cell improvements. For a 30% reduction in vehicle cost, necessary fuel cell cost improvements can be reduced by 3.5% and 10% with the use of ultra light steel autobody and CFRP BIW materials, respectively.