While some carmakers (Toyota, Honda and Hyundai) are developing or already offer fuel cell powered models, other companies are considering a range extender that could use hydrogen too. This is the case for SymbioFCell, a french tech start up, helped by Michelin (as a stakeholder) and the CEA (atomic energy agency). The technology is applied on Renault Kangoo ZE electric cars on test fleets, in order to double the driving range.
But, there is another competitor in France. EP Tender has a slightly different concept. Instead of putting a fuel cell on the vehicle itself, the extra power is located in a trailer. Coupled to the rear of the car, the system sends energy to the batteries when necessary. The business model relies on rental trailers (Tender Lib’ would be the name of the service, inspired by Autolib’ in Paris for EVs on demand).
Primarily, the inventor has chosen a small 2-cylinder gasoline energy. However, EP tender is a flexible platform, enabling other technologies later on, such as a fuel cell range extender, or a new generation battery (metal-air battery).
The platform is described in a short video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnHX_L06Thk
First prototypes of EP Tender are expected next year for testing between Rouen and Paris in France and in Chengdu (China) for a commercial launch around 2017.