H2 racing car nearing completion

Team Forze Delft unveiled its hydrogen electric racing car at the Gamma Racing Day on August 7, 2016. Team members expect to hit the road before September.

The presentation in Assen was the start of the testing period. Now that the assembly is nearly finished, students from the Forze Delft team are testing components of the electrical system before the maiden drive.

Two grey boxes were the centre of attention of the Dreamhall workspace. These boxes contain super-fast batteries that behave like something between supercapacitors and Li-Ion batteries. They can store or deliver 1.5 megajoules of braking energy in 5-10 seconds. That equals the capacity of twelve laptop batteries in every curve with peak currents up to 400 amperes.

Red LEDs on the front indicate that the car is switched on. With 600 volt DC for the engines, this means that the whole car is a no-go zone for the uninitiated. One of the students proudly lists some of the features of the electronics aboard: 72 print boards, over 30,000 components, more than 500 sensors, 600 metres of electric cable and 22 electric engines.

The Forze VII is built on an existing racing chassis, which comes with all kinds of certifications required by racing organisations. This car is built to compete. Not against other battery-powered cars in the Formula-E but against petrol-powered gas guzzlers. Forze VII has been designed to race non-stop for 45 minutes on two tanks of hydrogen. Unlike its competitors, however, Forze VII will be silent and its only exhaust gas is lukewarm water vapour.

The main power source is a 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell. The boost power from the Li-Ion super caps adds another 200 kW for a few seconds. In all, the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/hour for the 1,100-kilogram car should take only four seconds.

Team manager Rick Everaert expects to complete the tests before the end of August. The first test drive is due to take place on the racing track of Zandvoort by the beginning of September.

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