Meet Maxwell, the World’s Most Fuel Efficient Vehicle
On July 21, 2018, Duke Electric Vehicles set a new Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency. The hydrogen-powered vehicle Maxwell broke the PAC-CAR 2’s long-standing record, setting the new bar at 14,573 MPG, 6,196 km/l, or 2,036 km/m3.
This level of performance came after weeks and weeks of optimizing the hydrogen fuel cell for peak system efficiency. Additionally, each loss in the vehicle, from aerodynamic drag to bearing drag, was quantified to build a unified understanding of the car’s performance. This understanding of performance was critical to knowing how to improve the vehicle.
Maxwell uses a dead-end anode fuel cell with passive humidification, which allows for simple operation but has widely varying performance based on ambient conditions. The fuel cell was so variable and difficult to master that the first official record attempt failed due to poor fuel cell operation. However, undaunted, the team returned the next week to successfully set a new world record!