The vehicles

Researchers and automakers agree that the electrical platform is the most efficient way of converting energy to wheels and thereby motion. However, storage of energy is not easy. It can be done in the form of conventional fuels which are later converted via an internal combustion engine (ICE) and mechanical principles into electricity – referred to as a hybrid vehicle, e.g. Toyota Prius.

Another option is battery (-based) electrical vehicles (BEVs) with a battery pack as the single source of onboard energy storage. The BEV must be charged from the stationary electrical output, whis is typically a slow process lasting for hours. Some concepts utilize fast charging or replacement of the battery pack as a way of shortening the ‘refueling time’. BEVs have begun the market introduction and are slowly, but steadily, maturing towards the mainstream market.

A third option is the fuel cell electrical vehicle (FCEV) – a category dominated by hydrogen-fueled vehicles with a main fuel cell (FC) engine and a small battery pack for collecting re-generative breaking energy.  The hydrogen-based FCEV offers the same product as the typical ICE, but with similar environmental benefits as the BEV.

The MECc uses a fuel cell range extender, thus enabling the extended range electric vehicle (EREV). Besides leveraging on the combination of two technologies, the fuel cell system runs on a methanol/water mix, which enables the use of the current fueling infrastructure. The EREV also offers all the same features as an ICE-based car, while maintaining the BEV benefits.