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General Motors (GM) may never actually sell the Hy-wire to the public, but it is certainly a good illustration of various ways cars might evolve in the near future. Instead of an engine, Hy-wire car has a fuel cell stack, which powers an electric motor connected to the wheels. Instead of mechanical and hydraulic linkages, it has a drive by wire system where a computer actually operates the components that move the wheels, activate the brakes and so on, and based on input from an electronic controller. By combining fuel cell and drive by wire technology, the Hy-wire car has opened a new world of chassis architectures and customized bodies for individual expression. The development is a significant step towards a new kind of automobile that is substantially friendlier to the environment and provides consumers positive benefits in driving dynamics, and freedom of individual expression.

Hydrogen fuel cells, drive- by- wire, compressed hydrogen, internal combustion, mechanical and hydraulic linkage, PEM, USD.


Cars are immensely complicated machines, but when you get down to it, they do an incredibly simple job. Most of the complex stuff in a car is dedicated to turning wheels, which grip the road to pull the car body and passengers along. The steering system tilts the wheels side to side to turn the car, and brake and acceleration systems control the speed of the wheels.

Given that the overall function of a car is so basic (it just needs to provide rotary motion to wheels), it seems a little strange that almost all cars have the same collection of complex devices crammed under the hood and the same general mass of mechanical and hydraulic linkages running throughout. Why do cars necessarily need a steering column, brake and acceleration pedals, a combustion engine, a catalytic convertor and the rest of it? According to many leading automotive engineers, they don’t; and more to the point, in the near future, they won’t. Most likely, a lot of us will be driving radically different cars within 20 years. And the difference won’t just be under the hood — owning and driving cars will change significantly, too.

The Hy-wire (Hydrogen drive-by-wire) is a concept car from General Motors originally introduced in January 2002. The car runs on hydrogen fuel cells and uses a drive-by-wire system, meaning that the car is controlled electronically. GM asked school children to name the car, and one of them suggested “Hy-wire”.In 2003, General Motors stated that it was confident that it could produce a commercially viable model by 2010.

Mechanical presentation topics
The BMW hydrogen car

Hy-wire Basics

Two basic elements largely dictate car design today: the internal combustion engine and mechanical and hydraulic linkages. Internal combustion engine requires a lot of additional equipment to function correctly. No matter what else they do with a car, designers always have to make room for this equipment.

The same goes for mechanical and hydraulic linkages. The basic idea of this system is that the driver maneuvers the various actuators in the car (the wheels, brakes, etc.) more or less directly, by manipulating driving controls connected to those actuators by shafts, gears and hydraulics. In rack-and-pinion steering system, for example, turning the steering wheel rotates a shaft connected to a pinion gear, which moves a rack gear connected to the car’s front wheels. In addition to restricting how the car is built, the linkage concept also dictates how we drive: The steering wheel, pedal and gear-shift system were all designed around the linkage idea.

The Hy-wire has wheels, seats and windows like a conventional car, but the similarity pretty much ends there. There is no engine under the hood and no steering wheel or pedals inside.

GM’s diagram of the Autonomy design

The defining characteristic of the Hy-wire (and its conceptual predecessor, the Autonomy) is that it doesn’t have either of these two things. Instead of an engine, it has a fuel cell stack, which powers an electric motor connected to the wheels. Instead of mechanical and hydraulic linkages, it has a drive by wire system — a computer actually operates the components that move the wheels, activate the brakes and so on, and based on input from an electronic controller. This is the same control system employed in modern fighter jets as well as many commercial planes.

Illustration of the Autonomy’s body attachment concept

The result of these two substitutions is a very different type of car — and a very different driving experience. There is no steering wheel, there are no pedals and there is no engine compartment. In fact, every piece of equipment that actually moves the car along the road is housed in an 11-inch-thick (28 cm) aluminum chassis — also known as the skateboard — at the base of the car. Everything above the chassis is dedicated solely to driver control and passenger comfort. This means the driver and passengers don’t have to sit behind a mass of machinery. Instead, the Hy-wire has a huge front windshield, which gives everybody a clear view of the road. The floor of the fiberglass-and-steel passenger compartment can be totally flat, and it’s easy to give every seat lots of leg room. Concentrating the bulk of the vehicle in the bottom section of the car also improves safety because it makes the car much less likely to tip over.

But the coolest thing about this design is that it lets you remove the entire passenger compartment and replace it with a different one. If you want to switch from a van to a sports car, you don’t need an entirely new car; you just need a new body (which is a lot cheaper).

The logistics of switching is still unclear — if the idea catches on, there might be special switching stations where you can keep your different car bodies, or there might be a way for drivers to switch the car bodies themselves in their own garage.




This is Mr.Jose John, 21 yrs old guy, currently pursuing final year mechanical engineering, now become an enthusiastic blogger and a successful entrepreneur.
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  1. German Prete says:

    hydrogen is the best fuel that we could ever have since it is non polluting. –

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