Fuel cells are becoming more and more of a standard in passenger cars, but there is more good news. End of June GreenGT introduced the first ever prototype electric/hydrogen competition car!

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The GreenGT H2 hydrogen race car has been unveiled at the Paul Ricard circuit in France during the French leg of the International Automobile Federation's World Touring Car Championship end of June. The former F1 champion Olivier Panis and his 20-year-old son Aurélien Panis presented the race car and drove it around the circuit. The 'H2' of course indicates the vehicle uses hydrogen to power fuel cells that provide the additional energy needed for the electric motors.

GreenGT, maker, designer, developer and marketer of clean and sustainable vehicle propulsion systems, was established in 2008 under the leadership of Jean-François Weber – a man, who had formerly been involved for many years in car racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans event (French: 24 Heures du Mans) and who in 2005 developed an electric propulsion system designed for competition cars. 4 years later GreenGT launched its first electric powertrain equipped with lithium-ion batteries, with an output power of 200 kW and in 2011 its electric competition car, the GreenGT 300 kW, 100% powered by lithium/ion batteries. It was clear that range was an issue with both models, so they used a 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell to provide the additional energy needed for the electric motors.Tests confirmed the fuel cells' advantages, however they also expressed the need for the cells to be smaller.

Based on tests and experience, the company began to develop a far more compact fuel cell with a linear power of 340 kW in 2012, followed by a new lightweight twin-engine powertrain, with a power of 400 kW that was developed for the H2 prototype.

The H2 racer now comes fitted with two 160 litre carbon fibre and aluminium tanks, capable of storing about 8 kg of hydrogen (the equivalent to 50 litres of petrol/gasoline), which would suffice for a 40-minute drive. Tanks come with 350 bar high-pressure and an FIA approved built-in pressure reducer. Two electromotors roar with a combined power of 400 kW and 4000 Nm of torque.The1.240 tonnes heavy racer is 'framed' with a carbon fiber composite chassis and can reach its top speed at 300 km/h.

GreenGT emphasizes that the electrical/hydrogen technology used on the GreenGT H2 will be applicable to other 'ordinary' vehicles that require high power, like trucks, and is not meant to only appear in competition cars. In their short, yet successful history they have already proved themselves in creating more 'ordinary' powertrains – for example, Citroën chose GreenGT's powertrain for its Survolt car. They also contributed to developing a small electric city car Belenos and converted a Jaguar E-Type for promotional purposes of Windreich, a German wind turbine parks operator.

July 31, 2015 Driving photo: GreenGT

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