Gasoline-fuelled electric vehicle passes emission and efficiency tests

An electric vehicle powered by gasoline-driven fuel cell stack technology has achieved high efficiency and near zero emissions in tests, demonstrating that such vehicles can operate on widely available fuel and still comply with Ultra Low Emission Vehicle regulations.

In a programme sponsored by the US DOE, the Plug Power fuel cell stack and Epyx multi-fuel processor fuel utilization system met the expected interim targets on the way to achieving 40% system efficiency.

At the end of the programme, Plug Power and Epyx will deliver a fully integrated automotive fuel cell system that can power a full-sized car.

Gasoline is considered the most technically challenging fuel to work with. Current testing was performed using low sulphur gasoline. Over the next few weeks, the team will demonstrate operation on California Phase II reformulated gasoline, ethanol, methanol, M-85, and natural gas.

The system produced reduced emission levels, well below the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle classification given to automobiles that generate nearly immeasurable amounts of pollutants and particulate matter.

Because fuel cells generate energy through an electrochemical process, pollutants such as nitrogen or sulphur oxides are nearly eliminated, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by more than 50%. The system requires less fuel to produce an equal amount of power, meaning users may be able to get more than double their current gas mileage.

The programme was initiated through DOE’s participation in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a public/private collaboration aimed at developing an environmentally friendly automobile that can attain up to 80 mpg-without sacrificing affordability, performance or safety.

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