1. Coming soon
The German car manufacturer is currently working on a new fuel cell that is reportedly much cheaper than the current ones in the market, allowing hydrogen cars to travel 2,000 km on a single tank — enough to drive from Portugal to Belgium without ever stopping for refueling. According to Hydrogen Central, Volkswagen has recently applied for the registration of a patent for this new and cheaper hydrogen fuel cell, representing a turn in the position that Volkswagen usually shows regarding hydrogen, somewhat pessimistic.
VW is Making a Car That Can Go 2000 KM on a Single Tank: Volkswagen (VW) is developing a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV) that will be able to travel 2000 kilometers on a single fuel tank. The… #instagram #longmarch #PMIK #photooftheday #like #urdupoetry #memes #fashion pic.twitter.com/SVk75eYo8E— Ashar Mobeen (@AsharMobeen) November 8, 2022
2. Patent application
In May 2022, the German manufacturer’s CEO Herbert Diess, denied the potential of hydrogen as a power source for electric cars in a tweet saying: “It has been shown that the hydrogen car is not the solution to climate problem. In transport, electrification has taken over. Fake debates are a waste of time. Please listen to the science.”
Das Wasserstoff-Auto ist nachgewiesen NICHT die Klimalösung. Im Verkehr hat sich die Elektrifizierung durchgesetzt. Scheindebatten sind reine Zeitverschwendung. Bitte auf die Wissenschaft hören! @ArminLaschet @OlafScholz @andreasscheuer @ABaerbock https://t.co/LfErDmBs5R— Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) May 18, 2021
However, the patent application for this new fuel cell, alongside the German company Kraftwerk Tubes, shows that Volkswagen does not want to lose the hydrogen momentum and is working outside the public eye in the development of this technology. Although this patent has been requested together with Volkswagen, Kraftwerk assures that it does not work exclusively for a brand.
Regardless of the manufacturer, our goal is for our technology to be launched in a series vehicle by 2026. We are talking about series of about 10,000 vehicles, spread over several car manufacturers.Sascha Kühn, the CEO of Kraftwerk
3. Fuel cells
Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of generating their own electricity, as opposed to the way huge batteries of electric cars accumulate the electricity, which is released according to the needs of the vehicle.
In essence, hydrogen fuel cells need a high-pressure tank that stores the hydrogen in gas form — if it were liquid it would need to be stored at very low temperatures — and a fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity.
Fuel cells also have an anode and a cathode like batteries and they rely on electrolytes to divide the hydrogen into a proton and an electron to generate an external circuit creating a flow of electricity making the car engine’s work. However, Volkswagen and Kraftwerk’s fuel cell puts a spin on materials traditionally used for membranes.
The main difference with Hyundai and Toyota hydrogen cells is that we use a ceramic membrane instead of the usual plastic one. That’s a big difference.Sascha Kühn, the CEO of Kraftwerk
Kühn explained that this technology resembles solid-state batteries as both have almost the same electrolytes and a similar material structure. The difference is that, he said, while solid-state batteries use a compact material to store energy, in fuel cells that role is assumed by hydrogen in gas form.
“The big advantage of our solution is that it can be produced much cheaper than polymer fuel cells and it does not require any type of platinum”, Kühn added, referring to a precious metal that makes the final cost of the product more expensive.