Electronic & Powertrain
To get the power from the fuel cell to the tires a lot of electronics are necessary. First of all, you have the powertrain which connects the fuel cell, the accumulator and the electromotors. It operates at voltages as high as 700 volts and currents over 300 ampères! Next to that, there is the embedded system, interfacing with all the sensors and actuators in the car. The embedded systems make sure all the software and control can communicate with the powertrain and fuel cell systems, so we can drive as fast as possible!
I joined Forze because the current car has so many electronic systems and it made me curious why you would need that amount of complexity to operate a hydrogen electric vehicle. Now that I have been part of the team for quite a few months already, I am beginning to understand more and more why you would need all those electronics and I’ve encountered some interesting challenges when designing these systems myself.
After the fuel cells have produced their electric power, the power still has to go to the motors, or be stored in the supercapacitor buffer. Providing these critical components and connecting them safely is what powertrain entails. Especially this last part is a big challenge when there are currents running up to a thousand amps through the system at a voltage triple that what comes out of the wall. Apart from the high-voltage power, powertrain is also responsible for the low-voltage power. This power, required to run all the low voltage pumps, processing, power steering and ABS, would be enough to power multiple houses. Failure of the system could spell disaster, so a good architecture is key.