By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
Auto Central Europe December 30, 2014; In the past few years, we did not hear much about fuel cell vehicles (FCV), but Research and Development engineers world wide have not been resting on their laurels. They are working continuously to optimize the technology for production in the not too far future.
In this respect, the Volkswagen Group showed its state of affairs at the LA Auto Show with the world premieres of the Golf Sportwagen HyMotion and the Audi A7 h-tron quattro Concept.
Fuel cell technology is not new, the first appeared in 1938, but it took far more than a decade before NASA started to use them in their satellites space capsules. In 1966 General Motors showed with the Electrovan that electric propulsion with fuel ells was technically possible. In the nineties, Mazda built an MX-5 with a rotary engine that ran on hydrogen, Honda got deeper into the technology and introduced the FCX Clarity, a model with only a hydrogen fuel cell. In 2000 the Clarity was leased to fleet-owners and later, the series produced second generation was leased to private customers in the Los Angeles area.
In the nineties, Volkswagen started researching the potential of the fuel cell and its application in production cars. In 2001, the group commenced construction of Technology Center for Electric Traction, near its headquarters in Wolfsburg. The infrastructure there includes a hydrogen station. Volkswagen produces hydrogen from renewable solar energy.