ABB parts protect hydrogen-electric car in high-powered race with fossil-fueled cars

ABB parts protect hydrogen-electric car in high-powered race with fossil-fueled cars

A team of student engineers from Delft University of technology poses with their latest project, the Forze VIII hydrogen-electric racecar.

Support for the Forze VIII is a small part of ABB’s technological contributions to a growing wave of sustainable electric vehicles

One of the world’s most powerful hydrogen-electric racecars will take on traditional fossil-fueled cars in Europe again this summer, built partly with reliable ABB Ty-Rap® cable ties and Sta-Kon® and Spec-Kon® wire management products.

On Aug. 17, the Forze VIII, a student-engineered project of Delft University of Technology is scheduled to compete in the GAMMA Racing Day - one of Europe’s premier auto sports events - at the TT Circuit in Assen, The Netherlands.

“In our hydrogen-electric racing car, reliability is paramount, but at the same time it is a very harsh environment,” said Lode de Herdt, the project’s power train engineer. “The Sta-Kon® and Spec-Kon® splices have proven to be incredibly durable and meet our quality standards. ABB’s Ty-Rap® products have been invaluable in securing and tidying our wiring harnesses. And several different types of ABB heat shrink products have been used to protect our wiring against water, heat and abrasion.”

Technology for the future

ABB’s contribution to the powerful hydrogen-electric car is just one of many technological innovations the company offers to the electric vehicle industry which is poised to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the modern age.

A study released by global research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that EV cars will account for 55 percent of new car sales by 2040, driven by improvements in battery storage and charging capabilities. Researchers at the International Monetary Fund and Georgetown University are more optimistic. Using historical analysis of the rapidity of past technological transitions — such as the move from horse-and-buggy transport to fossil-fuel powered automobiles — they predict that 90 percent of all passenger automobiles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other developed nations will be electric by 2040.

ABB is contributing to the technological advances that could accelerate the industry’s growth, whether it is driven by electric battery power or, like the Forze VIII, by hydrogen-electric fuel cells.

The innovative ABB OppCharge interface can charge battery powered electric transit buses at endpoints, terminals and intermediate stops. This allows the buses to be charged without impacting the normal operation of the route and facilitating 24 hour services for the first time ever. OppCharge currently powers a fleet of 35 electric buses in the Norwegian city of Trondheim and, with charge times of three to six minutes, is a force to reckon with in a global electric bus market that is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate above 30 percent from 2017 to 2025.

For passenger cars, ABB is supplying its groundbreaking Terra High Power Fast Charging stations across the globe. These chargers are capable of delivering enough charge in 8 minutes to power an electric car for 200 km (124 miles). More than 7,000 ABB chargers have been installed in 60 countries so far, giving the company the largest installed base of charging stations worldwide. ABB’s EVLunic home charging system is a huge leap in making recharging stations more accessible.

While improvements to charging stations, combined with improvements in the range and charging capacity of batteries, is driving growth in the battery-powered vehicle market, the greater potential range of fuel cell powered vehicles is making a mark on the heavy transport industry. Anheuser- Busch InBev, the brewer of Budweiser and Corona beers, announced in May that it has pre-ordered up to 800 hydrogen-electric semitrailer trucks for its transport fleet, hoping to cut carbon emissions of its logistics business by 18 percent by 2025.

Pioneering race cars

The Forze project is trying to pioneer techniques with its racecar that could help expand the viability and competitiveness of fuel cell-powered transportation. Hydrogen-electric cars use onboard fuel cell stacks to combine pressurized hydrogen fuel with oxygen from the air. The resulting reaction produces water and electricity— enough to power the 1,100 kg (2,435 lb.) Forze VII from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4 seconds, with a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph).

An earlier model of the Forze series, The Forze VII, became the first hydrogen-electric car to ever compete against traditional cars last year, setting the third fastest lap time in the 2017 GAMMA Racing Day series. Its predecessor, the Forze VI, set a record on Dec. 17, 2015, for the fastest lap by an electric car on the Dutch circuit Zandvoort, beating a three-year-old record held by a battery-powered Tesla Roadster.

The sophisticated Forze VIII car uses close to 100 sensors and devices, all of which need to be connected and protected against the harsh conditions that world-class racing generates.

Protective equipment

The Forze VIII uses rugged black Ty-Rap® TY27MX and TY2315MX cable ties, donated by ABB, to help hold its wires in place. It also uses Sta-Kon® and Spec-Kon® splices, along with heat shrink terminals. Its student crew used an ERG 4002 tool from ABB to help put it together.

Forze H2 Hydrogen Electric Racing is a project run by Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. A team of 70 Delft students built the first full-sized hydrogen-electric race car in 2012. They have continued to hone the technology through the years, aided by wire management parts donated by ABB.

“This is crucial in ensuring reliability of the Forze VIII’s systems,” Delft’s project engineer de Herdt said. “We would like to thank ABB for their support in promoting hydrogen as a sustainable fuel.”

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