On October 23 and 24, the H2 Forum 2023 conference, focused on hydrogen technologies and hydrogen development in the Czech Republic, will take place in Ostrava’s Gong Multifunctional Hall. The event is organized by the Moravian-Silesian Region, which is also one of the founders of the Moravian-Silesian Hydrogen Cluster.
And it is at this conference that Tatra Trucks together with its partners will unveil a prototype vehicle on the third generation Tatra Force chassis with a propulsion system using hydrogen fuel cells.
Tatra Force e-Drive was created as part of a development team in which the company Tatra Trucks, which is a member of the Moravian-Silesian Hydrogen Cluster, as well as the Řež Research Center, the Devinn company and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague cooperate.
“If Tatra wants to have products that are to find application in demanding markets, it must follow the path of its own technical development, application of advanced technologies and innovations, as well as cooperation with partners representing the top in their fields, including academia. The hydrogen-powered Tatra truck project is a good example of Tatra doing just that. The constructors in Tatra are also working on other technological projects of modern mobility, for example, a short time ago they presented a car with an automated control system on the same platform as the novelty with a hydrogen drive,” says Andrej Čírtek, press spokesman for the Czechoslovak Group. Together with Promet Group, she owns Tatra Trucks.
Up to 580 kW and 2,300 Nm
The hydrogen-powered prototype is based on the latest third generation of the Tatra Force model series, which had its world premiere in May. “For the Tatra Force e-Drive vehicle, we used an eight-wheel chassis of the Tatra concept with a central support tube and swinging independently suspended semi-axles in a 1+3 configuration and a three-axle drive. The prototype is designed as a truck for use in the mining industry with a total weight of 45 t. We want to test various technologies on it in the most demanding operating conditions,” explained Radomír Smolka, director of research and development at Tatra Trucks.
The drive of the prototype is electric, but it is designed so that it can be independent of external sources of electrical energy. The car therefore carries the energy source with it. In addition to the traction electric motor, traction batteries and two fuel cells, the vehicle is also equipped with pressure tanks for gaseous hydrogen. Fuel cells thus produce the necessary electrical energy through a chemical reaction from hydrogen directly on board the car.
The advantage of this concept is the very short time it takes to fill the hydrogen tanks in the order of minutes, so compared to battery electric cars, the downtime required for charging from external sources is eliminated.
The Tatra Force e-Drive relies on a traction synchronous electric motor with permanent magnets with a continuous output of 480 kW and a maximum output of 580 kW and a torque of 2,300 Nm.
Two fuel cells each have a maximum output of 100 kW, while the traction batteries with a total capacity of 171 kWh use Li NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) technology and have the option of charging from an external source (plug-in). The car is also equipped with a Tatra five-speed main transmission with an electronic shifting system.