Metallic Power Tests First Refuelable Zinc FCV

June 18, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

Metallic Power Inc. (Carlsbad, CA) announced that it has completed tests of what the company believes is the world's first refuelable, on-road, zinc fuel-cell-powered vehicle. The technology demonstration began in Chula Vista, CA, and included more than 100 miles of test driving on highways and surface streets over various terrains.

For the demonstration, four Metallic Power prototype, telecom, backup power, zinc fuel cell systems were fitted into a Geo Force sedan. The company performed extensive lab tests on the system before taking it onto the highway to reach speeds more than 50mph with rapid refueling in approximately 30 minutes. A small lead-acid battery bank connected in parallel with the vehicle's fuel cells provided extra power for short bursts of acceleration and hill climbing, while the fuel cells supplied the bulk of the energy for long-range driving. The technology holds the promise of delivering as much as five times the energy of the same weight of lead-acid batteries, and could provide two to three times the range capability of a typical battery-powered electric vehicle.

"We are pleased that our zinc fuel cells performed so well in this challenging test and demonstration project," said Metallic Power CEO Jeffrey Colborn. "This project has demonstrated the long-term viability of our technology for powering zero-emission electric cars, and at the same time has provided us valuable information that will help us to improve our core near-term products for telecommunications backup power."