At the Beijing Motor Show 2018, a new methanol fuel cell supercar was yesterday, 25 April, presented to the public. The company behind the methanol fuel cell car is the German/Chinese joint venture Gumpert Aiways Automobile GmbH that has made the fuel cell integration in close collaboration with the Danish fuel cell developer and manufacturer SerEnergy A/S. SerEnergy has supplied the fuel cell system and been responsible for designing and carrying out the integration of the system.
For the Danish methanol fuel cell company SerEnergy, the collaboration with Gumpert Aiways started in mid-2017. The two companies quickly found that they shared a vision, and with a joint understanding, it didn’t take long before the first steps of the development were carried out. The first car, a proof of concept test car, was designed and built in Ingolstadt, Germany, and the designers and developers at SerEnergy’s headquarters in Aalborg, Denmark, was deeply involved throughout the process designing the fuel cell system setup for integration in the car. The car arrived at SerEnergy’s Mobility Development Center in February 2018, where the fuel cell system was integrated into the car and the first tests were carried out with great results.
“It has been very interesting for us being part of the Gumpert Aiways project for a number of reasons, but primarily because this car is unlike anything we have worked on before, having our main experience to come from conventional light commercial vehicles. However, this segment is a very good entry point for new technologies with a good match between the trendsetting users and the maturity of the technology with a focus on the unique features and the high quality of the performance car,” says Mads Friis Jensen, Chief Commercial Officer at SerEnergy.
The car is a light-weight, high-performance, battery electric supercar with a methanol fuel cell power plant. The top speed exceeds 300 km/h and the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is around 2.5 seconds. The inner-city range is up to 1,200 km with a single fill of methanol.
Methanol – liquid electricity
With a belief that an electric car powered solely on batteries is not going to be sufficient in the future, Gumpert Aiways wanted to work with a technology that would allow the car to produce electricity while driving, so the car would never run out of power as long as there is fuel in the tank.
“We needed a new technology allowing us to produce electricity during driving without having to revolutionise the filling infrastructure, and for that, the methanol fuel cell technology is a perfect match. SerEnergy was chosen as the supplier of the fuel cell system due to the high electrical efficiency of their system and we have had a very close and professional collaboration throughout the project,” says Roland Gumpert, CEO at Gumpert Aiways and CPO at Aiways LTD.
Choosing to work with a methanol-based fuel cell technology, provides the great benefits of a driving and refuelling experience similar to what we know from cars powered by fossil fuels, but with the benefits of a battery electric car with zero harmful emissions and without engine noise and vibrations. The methanol fuel cell system works as a power plant and refuelling of the car with methanol only takes a few minutes. Methanol, a liquid fuel at atmospheric pressure is worldwide available with an already existing infrastructure.
A high-speed process
Typically, in the car industry it takes a long time to move from idea to a final presentation of a car, but throughout the development, the collaboration between Gumpert Aiways and SerEnergy is characterized by taking action and bringing ideas from sketch to reality at high-speed. This enabled the development and the proof of concept testing to take less than a year.
Besides the supercar, Aiways LTD, the parent company of Gumpert Aiways, is also working on an SUV based on the MAS platform. This platform will be used for an additional five different body styles.
The methanol fuel cell system
The Gumpert Aiways’ methanol fuel cell car is the worlds-first supercar using a reformed methanol fuel cell system based on high-temperature PEM-technology.
Besides supplying the methanol fuel cell systems SerEnergy also worked together with Gumpert Aiways on the integration of the fuel cell and drive controller and their synchronisation. This setup includes the methanol tank, fuel circuit and cooling circuit for the use of waste heat from the fuel cell. Utilisation of waste heat instead of battery power for heating of the car increases the total efficiency of the car resulting in a longer driving range.
This car combines the methanol fuel cell and the battery pack systems. This ideal combination helps to balance the power flow during start-ups and acceleration peaks.
Electrical efficiency of methanol fuel cell system: 40-50%
Driving range: Up to 1,200 km inner-city driving
Emission: Zero harmful emissions (NOx, SOx and particles)
Refuelling time: 3 minutes
Marketing & PR Manager
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Gumpert Aiways Automobile GmbH
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About Gumpert Aiways
Gumpert Aiways is the Silicon Valley of Aiways in Germany.
We are developing high technology which can be adopted later in high volume vehicles for everybody. This will gain high media attention.
The RG Nathalie is not only a super sports car, it’s superior technology will also be used by our parent company Aiways LTD to produce a large range of cars for everyone.
The RG Nathalie:
- Acceleration 0-100 2.5 sec
- Vmax over 300 km/h
- Inner city range 1,200 km
- No harmful pollution
- 4 wheels 4 engines
- Instead of differential, electronical differential (torque vectoring)
- Own power plant in the car to be independent from charging stations
SerEnergy is a world-leading developer and manufacturer of reformed methanol fuel cell solutions applicable for power generation in three key market segments: Stationary, Mobility and Marine. Having supplied fuel cell solutions for more than a decade, SerEnergy is one of the manufacturers with the largest number of deployed units in the world.
With a green mindset, SerEnergy aims to contribute to the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, while also overcoming some of the widely-known challenges within the renewable sector, such as flexibility and availability. SerEnergy solely works with methanol-based fuel cell technologies, since methanol is a liquid fuel that can be produced using renewable energy sources, stored for years, transported around the world and distributed using the conventional supply chain, unlike gaseous fuels.
SerEnergy’s products are based on high-temperature PEM-technology that adds to the performance of the fuel cell systems and ensures an attractive return on investment due to the enhanced electrical efficiency, allowing 30-80% fuel savings. This is a reflection of the company’s rich experience and focus on providing customers with cost-effective and highly-reliable systems.
With headquarters in Aalborg, Denmark, SerEnergy is the largest methanol fuel cell manufacturer worldwide, with a production capacity of up to 25MW (5000 units) per year. To ensure high-quality service all the way for our customers, we have established subsidiary companies in our key markets.
Providing premium-quality fuel cell solutions with an electrical efficiency of 40-50%, SerEnergy aims to be the first-choice supplier of environmentally-friendly methanol fuel cell systems throughout the world.