Method and System for Storing Compressed Hydrogen and/or CNG Fuels on Automotive Vehicles (Suspension Systems)
It is desirable to increase stiffness of a rear suspension while providing for a large open space between the wheels, unencumbered by stiffening arms in order to house a longer tank and thus a large volume of compressed gas fuel.
This objective of this invention is to provide a system consisting of a rear suspension subassembly shaped to extend around the fuel tank and operatively attached to the front and rear portions of the vehicle so that the front and rear portions of the vehicle provide structural rigidity for the suspension assembly, allowing the longest possible tank to be nestled between the rear wheels.
There are two embodiments in the inventive suspension assembly (1) a semi-trailing design consisting of arms mounted to a forward crossmember that extend past the centerline of wheel assemblies to have their free ends connected by a stabilizing lateral link and (2) a wishbone design with arms that straddle the tank and attach to both a forward and aft crossmember. The two advantages of either embodiment of the inventive suspension subassembly is its improved rigidity for enhanced handling and maximizing the space between the rear wheels for a larger storage volume tank.
Wrapping the rear suspension subassembly around a single fuel tank allows the inventive assembly to efficiently carry a large volume of gas while minimizing the loss of space within the passenger compartment or trunk. The single large diameter fuel tank is the most cost, weight and volumetric efficient storage container for high-pressure gas. Attaching the tank to body of the vehicle as far away as reasonable from the rear bumper and surrounding it by the rear suspension affords high crashworthiness protection in case of a rear or side impact collision.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a rear suspension subassembly with improved rigidity so as to hold the rear wheels of the vehicle in alignment under severe road conditions
Still another object of the invention is to provide a rear suspension assembly, which has a minimum structure between the wheel centerline to enable carrying a single large-diameter, long overall length gaseous storage tank, configured to maximize fuel volume.
Yet a further object of the invention is to provide an arrangement that allows for the onboard storage of a large volume tank while minimizing intrusion into the trunk compartment or passenger space and yet provide sufficient undercarriage ground clearance.
Yet a further object of this invention is to provide an arrangement that positions a large diameter, high-pressure gaseous fuel tank as far as possible from the rear of the vehicle for crashworthiness protection.
Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 7198301 issued.CONTACT:
Mr. M. T. Hickman