under 7 seconds
(from Morgan Press
Release) Zero emission hydrogen fuel cell car
The Morgan LIFECar takes a fresh look at transport, offering as
revolutionary an approach to personal freedom as did the brilliant
Morgan Threewheeler introduced by HFS Morgan nearly 100 years ago.
The LIFECar is powered by a fuel cell that is sized to meet the
constant load requirement of cruising (about 20% of peakpower) and
as a result significant weight and cost reductions have been made
over other designs. By recapturing energy during braking, maximum
performance is available to LIFECar for acceleration from this
unique mix of technologies.
The initial concept was the brainchild of Hugo Spowers of
RiverSimple, a specialist company investigating new ideas in
environmentally sound transport solutions. In order to realise
LIFECar however, several partners were needed to make the concept a
The project is based around hydrogen as the fuel source because when
it burns the only emission is pure water. Hydrogen is potentially
abundant and Spowers brought in Linde to the project for their
expertise across the whole hydrogen supply chain from production and
distribution through to their high pressure refuelling systems.
The hydrogen is converted to electricity using a 4 stack hydrogen
PEM fuel cell. Apart from 22Kw of electricity, the fuel cell
produces only heat and water as by-products. The fuel cell made by
QinetiQ operates at 45% efficiency, a significant advance over the
conventional internal combustion engine.
Electricity is directed to 4 electric motor/generators, each
connected directly to a driving wheel. Not only are these motors
super-efficient 92-94% across their operating range - but they
have inbuilt re-generative braking, recapturing the kinetic energy
for when vivid acceleration is required (and reducing energy
consumption still further). Whilst regenerative braking is not a new
concept, current applications offer around 10% energy reuse, whereas
in LIFECar, up to 50% of this stored kinetic energy can be
This regained energy needs to be efficiently stored and delivered.
Historically this has been the job of batteries, which are rich in
heavy metals, heavy in weight and limited in their ability to
deliver or receive high power bursts of energy. LIFECar has shunned
these in favour of a bank of ultra capacitors. These have the
ability to shuffle up to 1000 amps back and forth, maximising energy
storage during braking and delivering powerful acceleration.
This technology would not be practical without sophisticated
controls. Cranfield University have developed management systems for
the vehicle, hydrogen, fuel cell, ultracapacitors and the motors
allowing them to become the drive and braking system (powerful
enough to give 0.7g retardation as well as generating energy). They
have also developed a solution to seamlessly switch the electronic
brakes to a conventional hydraulic system at very low speeds.
LIFECar has been engineered to deliver energy consumption equivalent
to 150 mpg (1.8 l/100km) on petrol with a top speed potential of
80-85 mph, a 0-62 time of under 7 seconds and a 250 mile range. This
unique mix of technology has been packaged by Morgan to add yet
another unique twist to the project. Using only the best and
lightest materials that are also attractive from an environmental
and an aesthetic point of view, aluminium, wood and leather, the
Morgan DNA is clearly visible and gives a new dimension to an
environmentally sensitive concept.
One thing is for certain, the world of motoring will change out of
all recognition over the next 10 yearsCould this be its future?
The cars fuel cell
system operates by electrochemically combining on-board hydrogen
with oxygen taken from the air outside. Although in most respects
fuel cells are more like engines than batteries, to the extent that
they generate energy from fuel in a tank rather than store energy,
like batteries, they use electrodes (solid electrical conductors)
with an electrolyte (an electrically conductive medium). When the
hydrogen molecules come into contact with the negative electrodes,
the molecules split into protons and electrons. The protons are then
carried across the proton exchange membrane to the positive
electrode of the fuel cell whilst the electrons travel around the
external circuit as electricity.
The molecules of the hydrogen and oxygen are combined chemically,
with water as the only waste product. The only emission from the
QinetiQ fuel cell will be water vapour. The electric power generated
by the fuel cells powers the electric motors and turns the wheels of