The average electric car journey capacity could top 200 miles on one charge if a new hydrogen cell proves to be commercially viable. The technology has been created by UK firm Cella Energy using technology which was unceremoniously dumped by the US government only a few years ago. Cella Energy believes it has a system which can create hydrogen cells to replace electric car batteries and extend journey capacity to in excess of 200 miles on one charge.
While we have seen a number of similar promises in recent times, it does seem as though there is a practical angle to the technology developed by Cella Energy.
As if to further rubberstamp this new technology, Cella Energy has already secured a contract with the Israeli defence forces to power drones. The technology is now proven in this particular area and it is simply a case of developing the concept and creating hydrogen cells which can replace traditional electric car batteries.
The system is based around a solid-state gas generator which is able to provide clean hydrogen that is literally fed into a pure fuel cell. The cells are then used as replacements for traditional electric vehicle batteries and the fact they extend journey capacity and are lighter in weight has not gone unnoticed by heavyweights in the industry. There are all kinds of practical uses for this groundbreaking technology, although many are surprised that the US authorities dismissed the technology and wrote off a £1.2 billion investment back in 2008.
Creating a hydrogen fuel cell
For obvious reasons the company is not at liberty to reveal the details of its groundbreaking technology but in effect the energy is created when a hydrogen pellet is heated up to 120°. The electrical system behind this technology creates a continuous flow of hydrogen which is directed into individual fuel cells. These fuel cells can then be picked up and used to replace existing electric car batteries with a weight saving of around 66% compared to lithium batteries.
The UK government has been very proactive with this particular technology and Cella Energy offering both financial and practical assistance. The company is relatively small with only 20 employees, although the laboratory at the NASA Space Centre in Florida is a reminder of the technology’s original roots.
Is this really a game changer?
While the average motorist will not travel more than 80 miles per day, there does seem to be some reluctance to switch to electric vehicles unable to support one charge journey capacity over 200 miles. If the company is able to deliver a tailored EV power product incorporating its new technology this could have a major impact upon the industry going forward.
There is reluctance in some quarters to get “carried away” with this new technology but it is already proven in different fields and the fact that the Israeli military has signed a contract would seem to further rubberstamp the technology. Whisper this, but could we be on the verge of a major shift in journey capacity for affordable electric vehicles?