• Jun 13th 2008 at 2:31PM
  • 14
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Tiguan HyMotion

Volkswagen has shown off its Tiguan HyMotion Fuel Cell Concept for the first time in California. The five-passenger SUV, based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, features a hydrogen fuel cell powering an electric motor. The electric motor may also pull power from a 6.8 Ampere-hour lithium-ion battery that is recharged by recuperating braking energy. The VW hybrid generates 107 horsepower under normal conditions. With assist from its auxiliary energy battery, the total output increases to 134 horsepower. According to VW, that is enough power to push the Tiguan HyMotion to 60 mph in about 14 seconds and a top speed is 93 mph.

While the performance is less-than-stellar, you have to remember that the Tiguan HyMotion produces zero tailpipe emissions. Yes, the only thing coming out of the pipe is clean water vapor. It's a concept, however, so don't expect to see it in showrooms anytime soon.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Volkswagen's U.S. Debut of Zero Emission Tiguan

HERNDON, Va.-Volkswagen of America, Inc. is showcasing its broad range of near-term and future fuel-efficient powertrain technologies with the all-new 2.0 liter TSI Tiguan, the upcoming 2.0 liter Jetta TDI and the North American debut of the Tiguan HyMotion Fuel Cell Concept.

Originally shown at the Shanghai Motor Show and the 2007 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, the Tiguan HyMotion highlights the current state of Volkswagen's hydrogen fuel cell research and development. The Tiguan HyMotion features a hydrogen fuel cell system, which provides over 107 horsepower and produces zero tailpipe emissions (clean water vapor is its only bi-product). The innovative new Tiguan builds upon Volkswagen's ongoing development of the fuel cell as previously demonstrated with the Touran HyMotion.

Volkswagen has long been committed to fuel efficient, environmentally responsible vehicles and this is evident with the new Tiguan utility vehicle and the Jetta TDI, offered in both sedan and SportWagen body styles. These vehicles provide efficiency, utility and performance in the refinement and interior appointment that is the hallmark of all Volkswagen vehicles. The well-refined four cylinder turbocharged engines – the Jetta utilizing Volkswagen's TDI technology and the Tiguan the fuel efficient TSI – provide ample horsepower and prodigious torque to make these vehicles sporty, efficient and fun to drive.

Tiguan HyMotion

The Tiguan HyMotion concept features a fuel cell system integrated in the engine compartment capable of 107 horsepower. With an assist from the electric motor, the Tiguan HyMotion advances to 134 horsepower. The top speed of the Tiguan HyMotion is 93 mph and it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 14 seconds.

A lithium ion battery with a charge capacity of 6.8 Ampere-hours (Ah) serves as an auxiliary energy storage device with a maximum power output of 22 kW. The battery is charged by recovered braking energy (recuperation) or by the fuel cell. This increased functionality and efficiency does not impair the interior space of the vehicle. The battery system is installed in the trunk beneath the dual cargo floor available on the production Tiguan. The 700 bar hydrogen tank was integrated in the area beneath the floor in the rear bench seat and cargo area. It can hold up to 3.2 kilograms of hydrogen (H2).

Basic operation of fuel cells

The key component of each individual fuel cell – a number of them are combined into a stack – is a proton-conducting membrane. It is located between each anode and cathode pair. Hydrogen flows on the anode side, and air flows into the cell on the cathode side. When many of these cells are combined in a stack, enough energy can be generated to drive a vehicle.

In each cell, hydrogen and oxygen react to form water on the cathode side. The fuel cell thereby converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy in an oxidation, or "cold" combustion process. The generated "exhaust" is clean water vapor.

The fuel cell is supplied fuel from the hydrogen tank and oxygen from the air by an external air inlet and outputs the electrical energy it generates – the power – via a converter and a downstream electrical system rectifier – to one or more electric motors. The Tiguan HyMotion is nearly silent when driven, and it is emissions-free.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      What is more important than the "less than stellar" performance is the cost of the fuel cell stack. Last I heard they cost around $500,000 each and had significant environmental limitations as well.
      • 7 Years Ago

      You need to fix this article, as it's terribly misleading. The Tiguan HyMotion is NOT a hybrid. That's "HyMotion" as in hydrogen fuel. There are 2 main methods of running off hydrogen: burning it in an internal combustion engine like BMW, or running a fuel cell, which is essentially an electric car with hydrogen gas as the power storage. This VW is the latter.

      There is one rather confusing phrase in the press release though, "The Tiguan HyMotion concept features a fuel cell system integrated in the engine compartment capable of 107 horsepower. With an assist from the electric motor, the Tiguan HyMotion advances to 134 horsepower."

      This is nonsense, however, as all fuel cell cars are powered by electric motors. Perhaps they mean when augmented by the power from the regenerative braking which is stored in a separate battery (since obviously it cannot be turned back into hydrogen). Or that the electric motor is capable of momentary bursts of 134 hp, but is rated at 107 for steady state output.

      I can see where that may have been a cause for the confusion, but the press release says nothing to indicate that a hybrid powerplant with any type of internal combustion engine is present in the Tiguan HyMotion (although several other production vehicles, such as diesels are touted).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, i was gonna comment on that too...
        Autoblog, how could you make that mistake? You realize fuel cells just produce electricity, right? And that the fuel cell's electricity is used to drive an electric motor? So it's not "Fuel Cell or electric Motor", it's "Fuel Cell and electric motor", or "battery and electric motor", or both. Not sure how you could have missed that distinction... :/
        • 7 Years Ago

        Sorry, we are not the green-tech experts (see AutoblogGreen for that)!

        Thanks for the heads-up.

        - Mike
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to point out that for people that live in far northern US states (Minnesota, northern Michigan for example) that experience winter temperatures well below zero might not be interested in a car that has water coming out of the tailpipe. I know that you do get water vapor with a combustion engine, but at least you are providing enough heat to prevent it from becoming a huge 'ice banana' in your exhaust pipe.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Haha, yeah. We will never see Hydrogen in the North.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How about VWoA focus on getting a diesel Tiguan over here first.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The 2.0T does in fact drink premium.

        And don't get me wrong, it's not like the Tiguan does horrible when it comes to fuel economy. It would be nice to see other options.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Only if diesel prices start dropping. At 80-90 cents per gallon more than regular, you have to have a pretty substantial improvement in fuel economy to make up for the difference in fuel alone. Unless the Tig takes premium, which is much closer in price.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow is all hydrogen performance this low??
      • 7 Years Ago
      why dont they try this hybrid technology in a smaller car so perhaps performance would be better?

      also if the technology actually works in the concept, why shouldnt we expect to see it in showrooms anytime soon?
        • 7 Years Ago
        so why do they even bother producing the concept?
      • 7 Years Ago
      VW has some great concepts but .....It's time VW put some of these ideas on the street at a reasonable price and in sufficient volume. I'm tired of hearing about the new Jetta Blue-Tec Diesel or Hybrid Golf, etc....but all they have in the showroom is a Rabbit that gets worse mileage than previous generations! Come on VW, get off the show circuit and into production.....and about that US factory, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, either!

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