Friedrichshafen. In cooperation with Freudenberg, Flixbus and the climate NGO Atmosfair, ZF is participating in a project for fuel cell technology. The objective of the "HyFleet" project is to design and test a purely electrically powered coach. The project is scheduled to run for three years and aims to identify important findings for the optimum design of fuel cells in coaches.
"ZF's broad technology portfolio and knowledge of the electrified driveline as well as the associated systems are already facilitating vehicle manufacturers' transition to e-mobility. In the future, the fuel cell will play an important role in e-mobility for heavy commercial vehicles due to its range and fast refueling times," says Wilhelm Rehm, member of the ZF Board of Management responsible for Commercial Vehicle Technology and Control Systems. "We have always pursued electrification with an open-minded approach to technology – the fuel cell has also played an important role as a drive solution for us from the very beginning."
"Freudenberg will contribute to the project its decades of fuel cell expertise at component and system level," explains Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. "We want to significantly develop both the durability and efficiency of the technology and thus set standards for total cost of ownership."
Fuel cell: Path to heavy commercial vehicle electrification
The feasibility study will make it easier in the future to optimally design fuel cell drives for heavy commercial vehicles. Specifically, this involves the respective dimensioning of the battery and fuel cell, the system's cooling concept and the load peaks to be considered when operating the drive system. In this context, ZF is contributing its expertise for the purely electric commercial vehicle drive – including power electronics and software-based control of all energy consumers. The consortium also benefits from the know-how of the ZF Group in numerous e-mobility series projects for commercial vehicles. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has already provided a non-binding letter of intent for funding the project.
The consortium is managed by Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems GmbH, a subsidiary of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies; other partners are the mobility provider Flixbus and the climate protection organization Atmosfair. The "HyFleet" project focuses on a high practical benefit of the fuel cell drive. In addition to the energy efficiency of the drive, this also includes driving characteristics and handling, for example in hydrogen refueling.
In addition to the HyFleet project, ZF and Freudenberg are jointly investigating further applications for the development of fuel cell solutions for mobility and industrial use.