Symbio FCell delivers first 5 Kangoo ZE electric utilities with fuel cell range extenders in La Manche
26 January 2015
Symbio FCell has delivered the first five Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) powered by its hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender, as part of a full fleet project led by the Conseil Général de la Manche which will ultimately deploy 40 vehicles. (Earlier post.) La Manche is a département in West Normandy, France.
The Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 electric utility vehicles are equipped with the Symbio FCell Range-Extender. This technology recharges the battery when it drops below a certain level and permits the vehicle to be refueled with 1.8 kg of hydrogen, 1kg of which provides a range of more than 100 km (62 miles); the range-extender therefore almost doubles the daily range of battery powered vehicles, a significant improvement that makes hydrogen-powered electric vehicles more competitive in the automotive markets.
The range extender unit comprises an ALP10 5 kW fuel cell stack; air loop and hydrogen loop systems; DC/DC converter, control command system, CAN/Ethernet/WiFi/3G supervision and management systems, and a 35 MPa 74-liter hydrogen tank.
Symbio FCell provides mobility solutions based on the conversion of hydrogen to using PEM Fuel Cell systems, with power rating from 5 kW to 300 kW. These solutions can be integrated in a range of applications.
Fabio Ferrari, CEO of Symbio FCell, comments: ‘The ‘Range-Extender’ increases both driving range and availability of Electric vehicles for commercial usage, while reducing the investment in battery recharging infrastructure for large fleet. Closer to a traditional ICE vehicle, this ensures seamless operations for professional intensive urban usages as demonstrated in previous experimentations such as La Poste’.
La Manche is among the first departments in France to own a hydrogen filling station (active in Saint Lo) and five plug-in hybrid battery fuel cell light vehicles. Furthermore, La Manche has important potential for low-carbon electricity production, based on marine renewable energies (hydrokinetic and offshore wind) and nuclear.
It would be interesting to know the weight, cost and expected life of the system. Unfortunate that those critical items are so often left out of the press releases.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 26 January 2015 at 09:01 AM
eci, Exactly. How do all those factors compare to just adding some more batteries? Without those numbers, we have no way to know if this is sensible or not.
Posted by: DaveD | 26 January 2015 at 12:11 PM
The figures, or as many of them as is reasonable to expect from such an early stage system, have been provided.
Try looking at the earlier post linked for a start, and then on the website.
Posted by: Davemart | 26 January 2015 at 12:36 PM
Thanks for the helpful tip Davemart. Unfortunately, no, the earlier post and the company's website do not contain system weight, cost or expected life of the system.
I guess as you say, at this stage of development, mundane data like this should not be expected. Probably will be a while before commercialization. A long time I would guess.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 26 January 2015 at 05:23 PM
Weights and range compared to batteries on page 15 here:
The batteries it is being compared to will be at the energy density of the pack that Renault use, around 80Wh/kg at the pack level, considerably less than that in the Tesla, which is really only suitable for large packs of ~50kwh at the moment, although the chemistry may be improved.
They are not on general sale yet, so we don't have prices.
It is probably just as well that they have not issued them, or some would trumpet a price for a run of 50 as though it were a mass production price.
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 12:32 AM
Daimler has been reforming methanol for fuel cells ever since the 1990 NECAR program. Reformers have improved and PEM cells are more CO tolerant.
So to say reformer PEMs would "come out of no where" is not exactly correct. More than a quarter century of development is from somewhere. This is more convenient than 10,000 PSI hydrogen with huge heavy tanks. Methanol sells for $1 per gallon, so the electricity is as cheap as wall current.
Posted by: SJC | 27 January 2015 at 07:36 AM
That is a nicely prepared deck, thank you for posting it DaveMart. Unfortunately, it does not break out the power or weight of the stack or weight the vehicle. As you say, it compares itself to a 410kg battery giving 80km range. (923 lbs for 50 miles). BMW's i3 battery is 230 kg, 19kW, gives 81 mile EPA range (130 km)
At 455Kg the Symbio claims 280 km range. That's almost exactly the weight of 2 BMW batteries, which would offer ~ 260 km, 162 miles.
I wonder what it costs for that 20km range advantage? The deck does has an interesting slide showing the cost of fuel, €9.9 per kg in 2015 ($11.25), eventually becoming cost competitive with diesel in 2020. If batteries achieve a doubling of energy density in that time, that will be a hard competition for FCs.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 27 January 2015 at 08:30 AM
Methanol or on board reforming would be a whole different ball game, with fuel stored at room temperature at very high specific energy density, of the order of 30kwh/kg.
For now we have the Efoy cell, in use as ancillary power, and for use in boats, on remote sensing equipment and so on:
They are also a far better bet for scooters etc, as cannisters can be simply swapped, with no lugging heavy batteries up flights of stairs for city flat dwellers.
There is no one system, and no one technology, for fuel supply and transport.
That certainly includes batteries, whatever one size fits all enthusiasts think.
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 08:36 AM
I was in error as they don't have the links to the pdf now on their website.
However it took me no more than a google to find the data, and perhaps a minute and a half of time.
You provided no link at all to the BMW battery weight, which is the way it should be played if you are looking at references.
However I am familiar with the data you refer to, and you simply can[t lift it out from a BMW i3 which ways a lot less and put it in the Kangoo ZE delivery vehicle and say it will give the same range.
It clearly won't.
This is a goods vehicle, and the ranges etc given will include lugging around a substantial weight of goods, as well as a fair sized vehicle.
If you want the specs of the Kangoo, non FCEV, they are a matter of public record and it is easy enough to find out exactly what version Symbio are adding the FC to.
No doubt I am an irritable old fellow, but I do wish you would think a little and do a little basic research before posting.
We all make mistakes, but to me you simply seem to fire from the hip.
Even on the detail level, the batteries are clearly shown on the slide as offering, with the assumed weight of the vehicle and load, 80 km only in mild weather, whereas the range for the fuel cell is in all weathers.
This is a substantial difference, and explains the choice of a fuel cell range extender for mountain regions, as the supposedly waste heat not only keeps the cabin warm but keeps the batteries at optimum temperature.
If you hunt around you will find that buses either as pure fuel cell or in RE configurations are also being trialled at altitude and in severe climates.
Of course they are expensive.
If you hand build a few dozen a year they will be.
That does not indicate what the final price will be,
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 08:58 AM
BTW. Since this is a Renault venture, there is no doubt that they are benchmarking the range extender mainly against their next generation battery, the legendary one giving 150 miles of range in the Leaf, not so much their current one as putting money into advancing the fuel cells would make no sense if they could do as well with batteries.
There is headroom for improvement in fuel cells as well as batteries though, and Renault at least clearly think that they will maintain worthwhile advantages even against higher specific energy batteries than their current ones, or they simply would not bother developing them.
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 09:04 AM
To be more definitive about it, what irritates me and the reason I often react sharply to your posts is that you tend to trot out any factoid, which are usually incorrect anyway, as long as they reflect negatively on fuel cells.
If some of the notions you get had much foundation, it is surely clear that neither Renault, nor Toyota, nor anyone else would be trying to develop fuel cells.
So instead of thinking:
'Hang on! They would have to be fools to proceed if this were correct!'
and looking for your error, you jump to the conclusion that they have indeed made complete idiots of themselves, and don't realise things that a total amateur can come up with.
They haven't, and the problem is usually your lack of research or lack of understanding of the facts you have found out.
So I would find your posts considerably easier to deal with in charity if you had rather more appreciation that you are not an expert and are probably wrong, instead of thinking invariably that you have found the missing key they have all missed.
That does not make them, or even more so me, correct, but then again I am never absolute about what will win out.
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 09:16 AM
Davemart, as much as you would like to paint me as a naïf, my work stands on its own. Trying to put words in my mouth, especially in quotes, is just nonsense, fluff, a distraction. Instead of attacking me and looking bad yourself for it, let's just focus on the facts and analysis at hand.
I admire Sybio and Renault for their engineering skill. That's not really the issue. The issue is, will this be a competitive product and in what time frame? Insufficient information to make that assessment about this project has been given in the presser. That is all.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 27 January 2015 at 10:53 AM
You expose yourself more and more.
You clearly stated that the BMW battery could provide the power, when you had no clue that it was shifting very different weights.
What gets me about you is you have not even got the basic honesty to admit when you have totally screwed up.
Your comments are worthless, and you are a troll.
You can't even give your name, but hide behind your site id.
If that is Jay Cole having a holiday from your site devoted to puffing the penny stock Tesla, then admit it.
If you had a clue about how business works, you would know that in a responsible company, unless the engineers could demonstrate clear prospective advantages for the less developed technology, then it would not even get past the cost and works department for consideration as a project by the board.
You have zero comprehension of business, no ability to comprehend the information that you need others to find for you, and no facility even for basic arithmetic.
What you do have is an enormously inflated opinion of your ability to put right those who are highly qualified in the relevant disciplines and have spent their lives developing them.
Have a good life, and troll elsewhere, perhaps on washing machines or some such, where you may know more, and can hardly know less.
Posted by: Davemart | 27 January 2015 at 12:07 PM
I think you just enjoy lambasting people Davemart. It doesn't bother me personally, your histrionics are just a reflection of your own frustration. It's just shrill and tiring for anyone to read.
If you care enough to know my name, ask a Yank to pick up a copy of Electric Car Insider magazine on the newsstand at Barnes & Noble and mail it to you. It's right there on the masthead. New issue hits the shelf Tuesday Feb 3, so you can have a fresh copy. Although after you read it you'll probably have to start calling me a Porsche shill, which I'm sure you will.
Posted by: electric-car-insider.com | 27 January 2015 at 03:03 PM
We now have two (2) troll calling superior god-like posters?
Posted by: HarveyD | 01 February 2015 at 06:58 AM