|2006 Panda Hydrogen|
Fiat and the Italian Region of Piedmont will work together on a wide-ranging cooperative program for hydrogen-fueled transport. Mercedes Bresso, President of the Italian Region of Piedmont, and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, made the announcement at an event at Hy Park, a dedicated area showcasing hydrogen applications during the Olympic Winter Games.
Torino (Turin), site of the Olympics, is the regional capital of Piedmont.
Fiat and Regione Piemonte will cooperate on local and European-level programs over the short- and long-term, and will promote Piedmont as a key research and development center for hydrogen.
The cooperation with the Fiat Group is strategic also in view of the creation of the “Piemonte Idrogeno” Enterprise Association to promote the development of hydrogen-based technologies applied to transportation and portable and stationary electric power generation systems and to acquire new skills and competitiveness in the sector.
We also plan the launch of several strategic projects in 2006 that will immediately involve small, medium, and large industries, the Turin Polytechnic, the University of Turin, and regional research centers.—Piedmont President Mercedes Bresso
The Region of Piedmont has contacted the European Community to become a candidate, together with other Italian regions (Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli Venezia Giulia), as a Hydrogen Com Area for the development of large European demonstration projects of hydrogen-based technologies.
Piedmont wishes to play an important role in the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) for hydrogen to be defined by the European Commission as part of the next Research Framework Program FP7 (2007-2013).
Fiat will support these initiatives by providing some of its resources at the Fiat Research Center in Orbassano and Fiat Auto Innovation facilities. The company will focus first on the study of a Panda Hydrogen lab fleet equipped with instrumentation to measure vehicle and system performance under real operating conditions.
The Panda Hydrogen is the result of a joint venture between Fiat Auto, the Fiat Research Centre and Fiat Powertrain Research & Technology with the support of the Research and Environment Ministries.
The Panda Hydrogen uses a direct hydrogen power system—there is no battery for the storage of electrical energy. The system consists mainly of three Nuvera fuel cells, a turbo-blower to supply the cells with air, a humidification and cooling system for correct management of reagent gases and a set of auxiliary components, all developed within the Fiat Group.
In December 2005, Nuvera Fuel Cells signed a multi-year agreement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Centro Ricerche Fiat to research and develop a high-efficiency hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion system for fuel-cell vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Nuvera is privately-held, and owned by Amerada Hess, Gruppo de Nora and Renault. The company provided the fuel-cell stack for the Fiat Seicento hydrogen fuel-cell prototype which took first in the compressed hydrogen vehicle category at the 2005 Monte Carlo and Fuel Cell Hybrid Rally.
The Panda Hydrogen fuel-cell system is housed beneath the floorpan. Hydrogen is stored at 350 bar in a tank beneath the rear floor pan and supplied to the fuel-cell system at a pressure of 1.5 bar.
At full power, the Fuel Cell engine on the Panda Hydrogen delivers 60 kW that allows the car to reach a top speed of more than 130 km/h (80 mph), with acceleration from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 5 seconds. The car can also climb a gradient of 23% at take-off.
The hydrogen tank capacity supports a range of more than 200 km (124 miles) over an urban cycle. Refuelling time requires less than 5 minutes—comparable to the time taken to refuel a natural gas vehicle.
Small demonstration fleets of Panda Hydrogen cars will begin operating this year as a forerunner to wider-ranging demonstration programs promoted and supported by the European Union and by the Italian Ministries and Regions.
The ultimate aim is for such vehicles to be marketed within 15 to 20 years.