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Concept-Cadillac Provoq Fuel Cell Preview

Concept-Cadillac Provoq Fuel Cell Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
Critical Knowledge:
  • 4-door, front-wheel-drive (FWD) crossover concept

  • Uses GM's E-Flex propulsion system

  • New fifth-generation fuel cell system and lithium-ion battery

  • Produces no emissions except water

  • Capable of 300 miles on a single hydrogen fill

  • Roof-integrated solar panel helps power onboard accessories

  • Brake-by-wire technology

  • Front grille louvers for aerodynamics and cooling

  • 21-inch wheels and Michelin green energy-saving tires

  • Earth-friendly interior components


Introduction
Concept vehicles are a way for automakers to gauge public reception for innovative new styling and technologies, or at least to showcase features that one day might become must-haves. Provoq is an example of a vehicle that uses no petroleum at all, can drive for 300 miles on a single hydrogen fill, and still provide the driving characteristics of a traditional luxury crossover vehicle from Cadillac.

The Cadillac Provoq Fuel Cell Concept is meant to answer consumers' preference for performance and driving characteristics coexistent with virtually emissions-free power (Provoq emits only water vapor) in a crossover vehicle. Its signature Cadillac bodywork builds upon the division's second-generation design led by the 2008 CTS, and incorporates features that support the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain and enhance overall vehicle efficiency. Energy efficiency combines with earth-friendly materials for interior components to further contribute to Provoq's forward-looking possibilities.

Technology
Beneath Provoq's rear cargo floor are two 10,000 psi (700 bar) composite storage tanks holding 13.2 pounds (6 kg) of hydrogen to feed the vehicle's fuel-cell stack, which is located under the hood. Up to 88 kW of continuous electrical power is generated from the mixture of hydrogen with oxygen. Add to this the lithium-ion battery pack which can store up to 9kWh of electrical energy, as well as providing a 60 kW peak of power for extra performance, and you have the basis for Cadillac's alternative-fuel technology.

Provoq features all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction, as well as zero-to-60 mph speed of about 8.5 seconds-more than 30 percent improvement over the previous-generation fuel cell system. Cadillac says that with instantaneous torque to the wheels, it feels even faster, claiming Provoq's top speed at 100 mph.

Driving range is critically important to consumers who may opt for this type of vehicle if and when it comes to the marketplace. The 300-mile range is accomplished by a single fill of hydrogen. That works out to about 280 miles from hydrogen and 20 miles on pure, battery electric energy.

Exterior Design
On the outside, Provoq is sleek and expressive, with crisply defined body lines, shield grille and vertical headlamps-and you know that it's a Cadillac right away. Cadillac says the design features a new proportion for crossovers, with a "fast, almost coupe-like rear." Provoq utilizes GM's adaptable E-Flex architecture to create the vehicle's look. Take the satin-chrome appearance fender-mounted charge ports, as an example. Overnight plug-in charging extends the concept's driving range. An amber light incorporated into the ports indicates the system is charging. The light becomes green to signal charging is completed. These functional ports are purposely integrated into Provoq's design, and the sweep of the body lines that end at the ports' top and bottom edges accentuates the forward-thrust look-even when the vehicle is not moving. Vertical neon-lit taillamps sport a finned shape to aid aerodynamics.

A roof-integrated solar panel helps power onboard accessories, including audio system, interior lights and more. Other design elements include an active front grille, with grille louvers that open when cooling is required for the fuel stack; flush door handles with push-to-release operation; wind-tunnel-shaped outside mirrors featuring integral turn signals; low drag roof rack; and full underbody aerodynamic cover.

Provoq rides on 21-inch wheels and custom Michelin Green X energy-saving, low-rolling resistance tires with a tread pattern that looks like the "H20" water notation. Along with Provoq's other energy-efficient solutions, these energy-saving tires help reduce overall cost of ownership, extend vehicle range through more efficient use of on-board energy and storage capacity, and reduce environmental impact through lower CO2 and particulate emissions.

Interior Design
With seating for five, Provoq's interior offers the comfort and luxury Cadillac customers expect, but neither passengers nor cargo room suffers from intrusion by the fuel cell powertrain. The concept's interior layout is much like that of a conventional crossover, with a 60/40-split folding rear seat and full cargo area. Ambient lighting, a contrasting color scheme and luxurious hand-wrapped leather with French seams-hallmarks of Cadillac production models-go a step further in Provoq. Ambient lighting, for example, appears all across the instrument panel, into the door panels, foot wells, sills and under seats.

Vehicle information readouts-fuel cell information, driving performance, and more-appear in a unique instrument cluster featuring large, reconfigurable LCDs. Like the CTS, Provoq has a prominent center stack for climate and audio systems, and a navigation system rises from the instrument panel top. An integrated hard drive stores maps, thousands of songs, and more. Provoq's front bucket seats flank a large center console with generously sized storage compartment that houses ports for USB-connected devices and other electronics. There's also built-in Bluetooth technology and inductive charging in a cell phone holder. Shift-by-wire technology to engage gears comes from the compact shifting mechanism on the console, providing even more console storage space.

Environment
Earth-friendly materials used for interior components include a fully recyclable soy-based material used to wrap the headliner; carpet constructed of recycled jute and polyester; leather that's free of harmful chemicals; door and instrument panel material treated to perform like carbon-fiber-type material; and less-harmful material in chrome trim.
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