After building go-karts and Formula Student vehicles, the students from the Delft University of Technology succeeded in designing and building a full-size race car powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. At the former Valkenburg Naval Air Base in The Netherlands, former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers unveiled world’s first H2 race monster. As such vehicle was never been built before, the committed team had to find out how to break through technical barriers. But they’ve made it. With weighing 880 kg and reaching a top speed of 220 km/h, the car is ready to kill some circuit lap records.
The Forze VI
The new racecar is equipped with a fuel cell system, where hydrogen and oxygen react together producing electrical energy. This energy is used to power two electric motors with a combined power output of 190 kW (260 bhp). The car can hold 3 kg of hydrogen in two tanks, which means the car can run on full power for 30 minutes, after which the tanks can be refueled in 3 minutes. The students will use this car to demonstrate the role hydrogen can play in the future of mobility and energy storage.
Jan Lammers has been following the Forze-team since 2009 and was impressed at today’s unveiling: “Forze has chosen the competitive racing industry as a platform to promote the development of hydrogen fuel cells, because competition is known to push boundaries. It is fantastic to see the progress made on the Forze vehicles over the past 4 years. The Forze VI is the first hydrogen powered vehicle that can seriously compete against conventional petrol powered racecars.”
Now that the car has been finished, the student team has the ambition to prove its concept to the world. After a thorough test phase, the most important lap records for hydrogen cars will be challenged, starting with the Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands. This is considered as a serious warm-up before attacking the lap record for hydrogen powered vehicles at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. Besides going after records, the Forze race team wants to take part in the Dutch Caterham Cup, challenging the traditional petrol powered Caterhams.
The Forze-team is run by students from all faculties of the Delft University of Technology. Since 2007 the team has managed to build a new vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell every year. By high-tech development on tough deadlines, the Forze project is an interesting and informative experience for the young engineers. Until now, the team has built three go-karts and two small racecars for the Formula Student competition. Thanks to the support of outsourcing specialist and main sponsor Schuberg Philis, the team has now made the big step to a full-size racecar.
Photos by Richard van ‘t Hof