Green Team Twente is all set to unveil its new hydrogen car H2.Zero for theShell Eco Marathon, Europe’s major energy-efficiency race to be held in London in July 2016. The team will present the new car on Monday but has already revealed that its fuel consumption rate is comparable to 1000 kilometres per litre in a conventional engine. The energy content of a Snickers bar would be enough to keep the H2.Zero on the road for a full three hours. It comes as no surprise that the team is aiming for a place on the winners’ podium. Their new hydrogen car features major improvements on previous models and has been designed with the specific challenges of the hilly London course in mind.
The many hills on the course around London’s famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park led the team to modify the entire powertrain of the previous hydrogen vehicle. The gearbox and the buffer have also been renewed. Only the aerodynamics (and therefore the shape) of the previous team’s vehicle have been left more or less intact. Their aim had been to build a more accessible car that symbolized the future of motoring. The new team focused on optimizing the car’s technical aspects, as well as enhancing the design by adding a futuristic door. All of its members have been closely following the dramatic rise of the hydrogen car. A whole range of car manufacturers are already bringing these vehicles into mass production.
‘The fuel cell in H2.Zero is the same as that in the previous model, but otherwise major changes have been made,’ says Tessa de Koning Gans of Green Team Twente. ‘We have made changes to the suspension and transmission, as well as improving the car’s exterior. The race organizers have imposed stricter requirements. Our new car will therefore have a roof, with a gullwing door on the side. The previous car had more of a cockpit with a glass dome that lifted open.’
Inspired by Formula1
The team also introduced a significant improvement to the car’s rear suspension. ‘We have switched to a so-called double wishbone system,’ De Koning Gans explains. ‘Double wishbones are arms which combine with their suspension point and the actual suspension of the wheel to form a four-arm mechanism. This ensures true independent suspension for all four wheels, while maintaining their vertical attitude. All four wheels are now attached to the car by means of carbon fibre arms. This makes the suspension both very light and easy to adapt. This system closely resembles the one used in lightweight racing cars and even in Formula 1.’
Steep Slopes in London
From 30 June, Green Team Twente will compete with over 200 other teams in the Shell Eco Marathon, all aiming to drive as efficiently and economically as possible on the fuel of their choice. In the coming years, the European race will be held on a track that runs around London’s famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Previously, the energy-efficiency race was run around Ahoy in Rotterdam. The new course features many a steep hill and sharp turn. ‘That presents us with a host of new challenges,’ says De Koning Gans. ‘For instance, the course includes a 200-metre climb, a steep descent and a 90-degree turn. Needless to say we have adapted our car to meet these challenges.’
French Test Run
In addition to the Shell Eco Marathon in London, Green Team Twente has also signed up for the EducEco Challenge in France. This smaller-scale energy-efficiency race takes place in May. Tessa De Koning Gans adds ‘We are hoping for a good result at EducEco but we are approaching the race primarily as an important test run for the H2.Zero. This fits into our strategy which this year involves a greater focus on testing. It enables us to get to know every inch of our car and solve any teething troubles to ensure an optimum performance in London.’
The team has now launched a crowdfunding campaign. See http://www.steunutwente.nl/projecten/green-team-twente--2/ for further details.
The H2.Zero will be presented on Monday, 18 April at 15.30 in the Agora Hall of the Vrijhof Building on the University of Twente campus. Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge.