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British low-volume automaker BAC believes that a hydrogen-powered version of its single-seat Mono supercar might be just as quick – if not quicker – than its regular ICE counterpart.

In a series of digital simulations, BAC found that while the e-Mono weighs 149 kilos more than the regular version, it managed to be more than two seconds per lap quicker around Silverstone.

“BAC is renowned for launching world firsts in the automotive industry and e-Mono raises the bar once again. Driving enthusiasts around the world will be as delighted as we are by this feasibility study, with e-Mono offering the perfect combination of range, performance and zero emissions,” says Neill Briggs, BAC co-founder and Director of Product Development.

BAC, working with Warwickshire-based cleantech company Viritech, developed a solution to fit the battery pack as far underneath the seat as possible and make it a structural component of the chassis. 

Bac E Mono Top

The fuel cell, for storing the hydrogen, was then placed above the battery pack, with its compressor hidden inside the air intake pod normally used for the petrol-powered Mono R.

The battery pack produces 265 horsepower, while the fuel cell produces 107 horsepower, and small 3 kilo motors in the front wheels provide an additional 55 horsepower apiece and give the e-Mono all-wheel drive.

The design was put through a series of Digital Twin simulation tests, in which the e-Mono shaved two seconds off the Mono R Silverstone lap time (2:04.23 vs 2:06.30).

The e-Mono can run 10 fast laps at Silverstone before needing to refuel while the on-road range is expected to be around 140 miles. Though the company claims that improved fuel cell efficiency could increase the range by up 50% by 2024. 

The powertrain weight of Mono-R is just 212kg, and the additional weight for the e-Mono is 149kg, which includes the new all-wheel-drive system. However, there is scope for further weight reduction via the adoption of a carbon case for the fuel cell which would save an estimated 15-20kg, and Viritech is also developing a new battery module that would save a further 30kg. This would bring the total vehicle weight to within 100kg of the current Mono-R.

The study, however, is not purely academic. Viritech secured a Niche Vehicle Network Feasibility Study grant, funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, to look into alternative propulsion methods for niche vehicle applications, which are of particular importance to the British car industry, given the number of low-volume manufacturers such as Caterham and Morgan.

 

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