Alternative Drives

Electric motor drives have been the main focus during development of alternative drive concepts for the conventional combustion engine automobile. The advantages of the electric drive are on the one hand, independence from increasingly sparse crude oil resources, and on the other hand, the environmental aspect of operating a zero-emissions vehicle.

Vehicle concepts for electric drive have existed as long as those for combustion engines; however, these electric vehicles are still today, well behind the capabilities of conventional combustion systems. The main problem with electric drive vehicles is that of storing electrical energy.

To already use vehicles with the advantages of electric motors, so to speak, as an intermediate step towards purely electric drives, hybrid drives have been developed and already built in various expansion stages. In the hybrid, both combustion engine and electric motor are used simultaneously.

One option of using an automobile in its current form in the future even for personal transport, is the use of fuel cells, for local generation of electrical energy from air and hydrogen directly in the vehicle.

The fuel cell drive system consists essentially of the hydrogen tank or a hydrogen reformation, the gas preparation, the fuel cell itself, which delivers the energy, and the electric drive. As secondary components, accumulators and supercaps are used for intermediate storage of the electrical energy, since current fuel cell concepts cannot make the energy available with the usual dynamics in the vehicle.