Michelin Builds Active-Wheel FCEV Prototypes

December 14, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Michelin (France) released details of two advanced prototype fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), the HY-LIGHT and the CONCEPT, which it unveiled at the Challenge Bibendum, a global roadshow for sustainable mobility vehicles held in Shanghai.

Weighing only 850 kg and capable of carrying four adults, the zero-emission HY-LIGHT is powered by a 30 kW fuel cell developed in partnership with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Acceleration to 62 mph takes 12 seconds, top speed is 80 mph and the car’s range is 250 miles. Tractive power comes from Michelin’s Active Wheel concept, which combines an active suspension system, disc brake, and a 40 bhp permanent magnet electric motor in one compact unit. Two are fitted to the front of the HY-LIGHT.

The drive-by-wire CONCEPT paved the way for many of the technologies used on the HY-LIGHT. Powered by four Active Wheels, it eliminates the transmission, clutch, differential, anti-roll bar and drive shafts. There’s adjustable ride height for easy access and loading and the CONCEPT leans into corners by up to 10 degrees like a motorcycle, improving passenger comfort and keeping the contact patch of the tire flat on the road surface for improved efficiency and road holding. The suspension within the Active Wheel also incorporates anti-pitch and anti-dive geometry to further improve passenger comfort.