The hydrogen vehicles for BIG HIT are being supplied by Symbio FCell, a pioneering company in fuel cell technology and inventors of the first range extender for hybrid (combined electricity and hydrogen) vehicles. The 10 Symbio vans for BIG HIT are based on the Renault Kangoo ZE Maxi, retaining a 22 kWh Li-Ion battery but with the addition of a5 kW hydrogen fuel cell range extender system which doubles the operational range, and with no impact from using the cabin heating on the range.
Fuel cell vehicles (FCV) use hydrogen gas as a fuel, stored in a compact, strong but lightweight high pressure tank. At the heart of an FCV is a fuel cell system which includes the fuel cell stack. The fuel cell stack is a layered arrangement of many individual fuel cells. The hydrogen and ambient air (containing oxygen) are fed respectively into the anode (negative) and cathode (positive). The hydrogen molecules are activated by the anode and release electrons, which travel to the cathode, creating an electrical current. The hydrogen ions created when the electrons are released travel by a different route to the cathode, where they combine with oxygen and released electrons to form water.
The power generated by the fuel cell stack is used together with power supplied when needed from the battery to drive the electric motor,. This battery is also used to store additional short-term energy generated by regenerative braking.