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AVL and Ford Develop Transit Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle Demonstrator in less than 12 months.

AVL and Ford have completed the FCVGen1.0 project in the UK. Achieved in under 12 months, the project aimed to develop a fully functional prototype transit fuel-cell commercial electric vehicle and create a digital twin of the demonstrator vehicle, which is fully validated to capture the key functional features of the physical prototype. According to AVL the project was funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), under the Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator (ARMD) competition

The vehicle was built and developed in AVL's Engineering Centre Basildon, equipped with a H2 Cube enabling safe and efficient hydrogen propulsion development. AVL in the UK were responsible for work packages including:

  • Designing, specifying and integration the fuel cell Balance of Plant (BoP) and high-pressure H2 storage system, including supplier selection and component procurement.

  • Full system and performance simulation using AVL CRUISETM M

  • Rapid prototype fuel cell stack and hydrogen tank (including infra-red comms system for fast re-filling) control systems

  • Fuel cell calibration optimisation in a dedicated AVL test cell at AVL headquarters in Graz using the AVL CAMEOTM methodology

  • Fuel cell system including high-pressure H2 storage build and integration into the vehicle

  • Vehicle benchmarking with AVL-Drive™

  • Human-Machine Interface in-vehicle display

Ford provided a donor prototype BEV transit vehicle, and led key vehicle controls and calibration development, including energy management. Ford was also instrumental in CAD, project management, and procurement and build definitions, amongst other contributions.

The project has consolidated AVL Powertrain UK Limited's fuel cell capabilities across several disciplines, including component and system design, control system development and functional safety, development of simulation toolsets and system integration, and physical build and commissioning.

Learnings from the project demonstrates that hydrogen and fuel cell propulsion can offer an alternative to achieve zero-emission tailpipe solutions in the light commercial sector while delivering the quick and convenient filling experience of a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Dr. Bernadette Longridge, Engineering Centre Manager, AVL Powertrain UK: "The collaborative project has allowed us to demonstrate that fuel cell electric vehicles can become an integral part of the solution to enable a net-zero future. I am very proud to have been part of a team that has delivered an exceptional FCEV demonstrator in a light commercial vehicle and a digital twin model of the vehicle and fuel cell system in under 12 months. The collaboration between Ford and AVL supported the delivery and achieving the project goals. A great project delivered by an extraordinary team."

Simon Palmer, Chief Engineer Powertrain, Ford of Europe, earlier quoted: "We see opportunities in commercial vehicle as applications where our customers will have a compelling business case to switch to hydrogen. For Ford, the project explored how we apply hydrogen technology in the most efficient, most cost-effective way. We have always been active in hydrogen globally. For us really, it's all about trying to understand where this technology might sit in our commercial vehicle offering. We are taking stepping stones with new technology."

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