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Volkswagen Touran HyMotion

The Volkswagen Touran HyMotion integrates one of Germany's best-selling compact vans with futuristic high tech fuel cell technology. At the NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference 2006 in Long Beach, California in March, Volkswagen put on displayed its Touran HyMotion for the public to test drive. And test drive we did!


Volkswagen Touran HyMotion - photo by Kevin Kantola

I had the privilege of driving the Touran HyMotion from the Long Beach Convention Center for a test lap around a couple of city blocks. The Touran HyMotion's peppy acceleration surprised me, as did the quietness of operation. The only thing that looked a bit out of place on this Touran was that a PDA was mounted on the dashboard taking data feeds from the onboard computer system.

Early that day, we took a caravan of eight different hydrogen cars from the Convention Center to the Air Products refueling station that was set up several blocks away. The refueling of these hydrogen cars such as the Touran HyMotion was quick, easy and based upon pressure per square inch instead of gallons.

The Volkswagen Touran HyMotion accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 14 seconds with a top speed of approximately 87 mph. The HyMotion has an 80 kw high torque electric motor and is powered a NiMH battery pack. The fuel cell is produced by Ballard Power Systems with a maximum electrical output of 85 kw.

The Volkswagen Touran HyMotion also contains a high capacity hydrogen fuel tank with a 1.9 kg gaseous hydrogen capacity rated at 350 bar. The demo vehicles at the NHA Conference were refueled at 6,000 psi, though some vehicles have the capacity for up to 10,000 psi of pressure. The Touran HyMotion fuel tank is capable of containing an equivalent of 7.5 litres (2 gallons) of gasoline with a range of approximately 100 miles.

The Volkswagen Touran HyMotion like other PEM fuel cell vehicles is rated as a zero emission vehicle. One of the challenges facing the Touran HyMotion as well as other PEM vehicles is both cold start and hot start capabilities. Starting vehicles consistently in either sub-zeros or 100-degree plus temperatures must be resolved before production vehicles are to be built.

The Touran HyMotion was previously shown in the U. S. in both the third CaFCP Road Rally and the World Environment Day demonstration in June 2005 in San Francisco, California.

In June 2008, the Volkswagen Tiguan Hymotion fuel cell vehicle made its North American debut and has upgraded many features of the Touran.


Written by Hydro Kevin Kantola