Arcola Energy, a company that specializes in hydrogen and fuel cell systems, has developed a proprietary hydrogen fuel cell powertrain platform designed for vehicle applications requiring high-duty-cycle capabilities and fast refueling.
The A-Drive platform offers a drop-in zero-emission replacement for diesel-based powertrains and is scalable for a range of heavy-duty fleets, trucks, municipal operations and public transport applications – including buses and trains. The platform is the basis of a range of vehicles Arcola is bringing to market from 2021.
Representing more than 20% of Europe’s on-road CO2 emissions, decarbonizing heavy-duty vehicles is critical to meet fast-approaching legislation and low-carbon transport strategies. Capable of delivering significantly greater operational range and payload capabilities, hydrogen fuel cells are emerging as a more practical option than pure battery-electric solutions for vehicles required to pull heavy loads and cover large distances.
“Combining an efficient electric powertrain with the high energy density of hydrogen, Arcola’s A-Drive platform readily delivers twice the practical range of battery-only solutions,” says Dr. Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy. “This enables fleets to work a full day of heavy-duty service on just one 10-minute hydrogen fill. The A-Drive platform delivers the integration required to realize these benefits quickly in real-world applications.”
The A-Drive platform integrates and optimizes the performance of all the systems in a fuel cell powertrain: fuel cell, battery, hydrogen storage, power electronics, thermal management, motor and brakes. Each component can be sized and specified for a particular vehicle and deliver the performance requirements of the application. In operation, the A-Drive control systems manage all components to ensure safety and to maximize efficiency, reliability and durability. The platform also communicates the data required by drivers and fleet managers to keep vehicles running and costs down.
Arcola’s A-Drive incorporates a fuel cell engine, which converts hydrogen directly to electricity onboard, and a hydrogen storage tank array incorporating multiple monitoring and safety systems, designed to stringent international safety standards. High power batteries are specified according to the requirements of the application and enable braking energy to be captured and reused, further improving efficiency. The electric motor delivers instant torque at all speeds, providing traction through proven axle, suspension and steering systems.