Viritech, a developer of hydrogen powertrain technologies for the automotive, aerospace, marine and distributed energy industries, has been awarded a Niche Vehicle Network Feasibility Study Grant , funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, to conduct a study on the development of a hydrogen powertrain for niche vehicle applications. Working in conjunction with Liverpool-based BAC, makers of the acclaimed Mono supercar, the resulting e-Mono concept continues to be guided by BAC’s principles of uncompromising performance and driving experience.
One of the main challenges of converting a 555kg Mono supercar to zero emissions is how to keep its weight ultra-light, especially as conversion to battery electric (BEV) would make the car 50% more heavy. Plus, while BEV cars can go as fast as a gasoline-powered alternative, the joy of a track-focused supercar is its nimbleness and responsiveness around corners. Viritech and BAC set out to create a design for an e-Mono ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) that stayed true to BAC’s founding principle of making the best driver’s car in the world.
Viritech’s philosophy is to develop fuel cell powertrains that are lighter, smaller and more efficient than anything on the market, and BAC wanted to develop a ZEV powertrain that could be installed in the existing chassis and body, while keeping the weight to an absolute minimum. The e-Mono was also expected to achieve the same Silverstone lap time as the Mono R, if not better.
It was accepted that the combination of a fuel cell, hydrogen storage tank and battery would be heavier than a gasoline engine, but if kept to a manageable weight it would not compromise not the legendary agility of the Mono.
One of the main challenges was to fit a fuel cell powertrain into an existing Mono chassis, the next was to maintain perfect weight distribution, and finally the completed car had to fit within the confines of the existing Mono body. .
The solution was to install the battery cell as far under the seat as possible, and by making the battery box a structural component, it was possible to reduce the bulk of the chassis, which increased the space available. The fuel cell was then placed above the battery, with its compressor hidden inside the air intake nacelle normally used for the petrol-powered Mono R.
The result is a battery that produces 265hp, with a fuel cell producing 107hp and tiny 3kg motors on the front wheels that provide an additional 55hp per motor and all-wheel drive.
The design was put through a series of Digital Twin simulation tests, in which the e-Mono slashed the Mono R Silverstone’s lap time by two seconds (2.04.3 vs. 2.06.3). The combination of fuel cell and battery enabled 10 fast laps of Silverstone between pit stops. On-road range is calculated at 166 miles on the official WLTP cycle, or around 140 miles in realistic use.
Top speed: 165mph
e-Mono Tour of Silverstone: 2:04.23
Lap of Silverstone Mono-R: 2:06.30
WLTP range: – 166 miles
Peak power:- 277 kW (371 hp) 197 kW battery + 80 kW fuel cell
Fuel cell efficiency improvements will allow a further 50% increase in range by 2024, without any increase in powertrain size or weight.
The Mono-R’s powertrain weight is just 212kg and the e-Mono’s additional weight is 149kg, which includes the new all-wheel-drive system. However, it is possible to reduce the weight further by adopting a carbon casing for the fuel cell, which would save about 15-20 kg, and Viritech is also developing a new battery module that would to save an additional 30 kg. This would bring the total vehicle weight to less than 100 kg of the current Mono-R.
A fuel cell electric powertrain has been demonstrated, in the virtual world, to meet the performance demands of the world’s most driver-focused lightweight supercar. Plus, they can be accommodated without any modification to the vehicle’s ultra-compact footprint and body.
The results of the joint feasibility study provide BAC with a solid foundation and foundation for a future proof-of-concept project to develop and improve, with its technical partners, in preparation for the launch of e-Mono globally.
“BAC is renowned for pioneering world firsts in the automotive industry and e-Mono sets the bar even higher,” said Neill Briggs, BAC co-founder and director of product development. “Driving enthusiasts around the world will be as thrilled as we are with this feasibility study, e-Mono offering the perfect combination of range, performance and zero emissions. To bring e-Mono closer to production, BAC is seeking appropriate funding to advance to the proof-of-concept stage, and we welcome conversations with interested parties.
For more information :
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC)