Olympic Volkswagen Passat Lingyu Fuel Cell Fleet Demostrations
The Passat Lingyu is capable of traveling at highway speeds up to 90 mph (144 km/hour) and as far as 146 miles (234 km) on a single tank of fuel. The only byproducts released from the tailpipe are water and oxygen.
"These vehicles logged nearly 50,000 miles in Beijing - with zero harmful emissions. We can think of no better place to next exhibit this environmentally-friendly technology than at the California Fuel Cell Partnership," said John Tillman, program manager for Volkswagen's U.S. Advanced Powertrain Research Program.
The prototypes, developed in China, debuted at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In total, these 24 vehicles create the largest fleet of fuel cell cars from a single manufacturer at one location in the world.
A fuel cell used on these vehicles is an electrochemical conversion device that converts the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy (torque) by combustion or electrochemical conversion in a fuel-cell.
The technology is viable, but the time required to overcome technical and economic challenges that will make it widespread could amount to decades. Both General Motors and Toyota expressed their doubts about the technology last year and suggested resources should be put into electric vehicle development.
"In my view, the hydrogen car was never alive. The problem was never could you build a fuel cell that would consume hydrogen, produce electricity, and fit in a car. The problem was always, can you make hydrogen fuel at a price point that makes any sense to anybody," Research Capital analyst Jon Hykawy said.
Well, they made it fit into a car. It remains to be seen hoe much it will cost, as no manufacturing cost was made public by Volkswagen.