British-built FCEV platform promises hypercar pace

Looking for a rolling chassis to underpin your fuel-cell start-up? WAE Technologies has just the thing…

By PH Staff / Wednesday, 6 September 2023 / Loading comments

Williams Advanced Engineering has been busy of late. Last January it announced that the division had been sold to an Australian mining firm with a view to applying its battery-electric know-how to the troublesome business of transporting millions (and millions) of tonnes of iron ore about the place. A worthy enough cause in the grand scheme of things, but we did wonder if that would be it for WAE and the rather more frivolous business of making human beings go very fast for comparatively short distances. 

How wrong we were. Not only did WAE reveal a turn-key electric hypercar chassis furnished with 2,200hp last September – and rebrand as WAE Technologies Limited in January – it has now gone one better (at least in terms of technical complexity) by launching a follow-up intended to demonstrate the potential of a hydrogen fuel cell in a ‘high-performance vehicle application’. Effectively WAE has installed an H2 fuel-cell system in the middle of its EVR rolling chassis, allowing ‘for end users to have zero tailpipe emissions driving’ while simultaneously enjoying sub-2.5 second 0-62mph performance combined with a projected range of 600km (373 miles). 

The parallel-hybrid derivative of the original concept has been dubbed EVRh, and has been designed and engineered at WAE’s facility in Oxfordshire. In essence, it promises a similar solution to the battery-electric variant: any OEM or start-up looking for a way to turn an evocative on-paper design into a real-world, hydrogen-fuelled reality need look no further. Alongside knocking years and several zeroes off development costs, WAE reckons its lightweight composite structure offers ‘maximum design flexibility’ and support for both all-wheel drive and rear-drive layouts. 

‘Lightweight’ is among the operative words there. WAE has found an unspecified partner to deliver the ‘state-of-art liquid-cooled FCEV battery pack’ capable of outputting 430kW (or 585hp) while providing 120kW of charging capacity. Its expertise has presumably been focused on integrating the system and its associated H2 fuel tank into a platform that includes a two-seat tub and the potential for a vehicle ‘with a mass less than 1,900kg’. In case you’ve spent the last decade snoozing, that figure is impressively small for an EV that’s turning hydrogen and oxygen into forward motion just behind your head. 

“Since its inception in 2010, WAE has been dedicated to innovating cutting-edge and transformative technologies across a variety of applications and industries,” said Paul McNamara, Technical Director for WAE Technologies. “EVRh, on display at CENEX LCV for the first time, is another key example of WAE’s capabilities in the development of solutions for zero carbon vehicles, enabling state-of-the-art FCEV vehicles to be brought to market rapidly and cost-effectively.”

WAE declines to say what exactly it means by ‘rapidly’ (presumably it depends on what manner of car you’re hoping to get out of the process) – but its projections for what we assume would be a track-only prospect are rapid indeed. The firm encourages us to envisage a fuel-cell model with ‘an estimated lap time of the Nürburgring in under 7mins 20secs’ which, incidentally (or not) would make it quicker than the Tesla Model S Plaid Track Pack that currently holds the production EV lap record on the Nordschleife. Still some way short of the Rimac Nevera that set the outright 7mins 5secs electric hypercar benchmark over the summer, but WAE reckons ‘continuous enhancements’ are all part of the rolling chassis deal. Let’s hope the phone is ringing off the hook. 

  • Williams Advanced Engineering sold for £164m
  • Rimac Nevera Time Attack marks new ‘ring record

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