The Morgan LIFECar (2008)
It looks modern, very dynamic, absolutely stylish and 100% Morgan. It has four motors but only weights 600 kg, before taking two adult passengers in its cosy cabin with wonderful seats made of sophisticated laminated wood. The basic facts says it comes with 200 kW of power, an estimated ratio of less than 3 kg per hp and the performance of a real sports car (o to 100 kph in 7 seconds) that perfectly fit with the heritage of Morgan Motor Co.
|The Morgan LIFECar|
|0-100 km||7 sec|
|Top speed||160 km/h|
Using only the best and lightest materials that combine the design appeal with the environment friendliness of aluminium, wood and leather, the Morgan LIFECar comes with the company DNA and provide an attractive frame to the environmentally sensitive concept of a motor car.
Yet, this is not the most remarkable achievement of this Morgan LIFEcar, LIghtweight Fuel-Efficient Car. The fact is that this is a very realistic vision of the Hydrogen Sports car of the near future. Indeed, the Morgan LIFECar is powered by a fuel cell that is sized to meet the constant load requirement of a fair cruising speed. That means just some 40 kW, which sound not much but indeed is what you need to keep ahead of today's traffic. The fuel cell size and the overall weight of the two-seater are the key factors to achieve the significant weight and cost reductions that makes the case for the hydrogen sport car viable within a short delay.
The fuel cell converts the hydrogen provided by Linde technology and supply chain into electricity that is not stored in big and heavy batteries but delivered to the four motors (two at the front and two at rear) driving one wheel each and that are engineered for re-generative braking for recapturing the kinetic energy (stored into the supercapacitors) and good for vivid acceleration when this required (and reducing energy consumption still further).
Morgan says their LIFECar has been engineered to deliver energy consumption equivalent to 150 mpg (1.8 l/100km) on petrol with a top speed potential of 80-85 mph, a 0-62 time of less than 7 seconds and a 250 mile range.
What the price could be of a regular - although limited - production car would be is not known yet, as it depends on too many variables but, Charles Morgan, strategy director say: one thing is for certain, the world of motoring will change out of all recognition over the next 10 years and they wonder: Could this be its future?
The initial concept was the brainchild of Hugo Spowers of RiverSimple, a specialist company investigating new ideas in environmentally sound transport solutions. In order to realise LIFECar however, several partners were needed to make the concept a reality.
The hydrogen is converted to electricity using a 4 stack hydrogen PEM fuel cell. Apart from 22Kw of electricity, the fuel cell produces only heat and water as by-products. The fuel cell made by QinetiQ operates at 45% efficiency, a significant advance over the conventional internal combustion engine.
Electricity is directed to 4 electric motor/generators, each connected directly to a driving wheel. Not only are these motors super-efficient 92-94% across their operating range - but they have inbuilt re-generative braking, recapturing the kinetic energy for when vivid acceleration is required (and reducing energy consumption still further). Whilst regenerative braking is not a new concept, current applications offer around 10% energy reuse, whereas in LIFECar, up to 50% of this stored kinetic energy can be re-employed.
The bank of supercapacitors have the ability to shuffle up to 1000 amps back and forth, maximising energy storage during braking and delivering powerful acceleration.
Why and how it works.
The car's fuel cell system operates by electrochemically combining on-board hydrogen with oxygen taken from the air outside. Although in most respects fuel cells are more like engines than batteries, to the extent that they generate energy from fuel in a tank rather than store energy, like batteries, they use electrodes (solid electrical conductors) with an electrolyte (an electrically conductive medium). When the hydrogen molecules come into contact with the negative electrodes, the molecules split into protons and electrons. The protons are then carried across the proton exchange membrane to the positive electrode of the fuel cell whilst the electrons travel around the external circuit as electricity.
The molecules of the hydrogen and oxygen are combined chemically, with water as the only waste product. The only emission from the QinetiQ fuel cell will be water vapour. The electric power generated by the fuel cells powers the electric motors and turns the wheels of the vehicle.