A top secret British car unveiled in London today claims to be the world’s first low cost, practical hydrogen powered vehicle.
A new type of fuel cell developed by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has resulted in a two-seater zero emissions hydrogen-electric city car with an expected fuel consumption equivalent to 360 miles per US gallon, six times better than today’s best available hybrid electricvehicles. The company is now planning to build 10 production prototypes and test them in UK cities.
The design of the car will be published on the web so that versions can be developed to suit local requirements in urban areas. The cars will be leased to users rather than sold, with owners paying for a maintenance, support and fuel package. The makers claim the all-up cost of the car could be as little as £200 ($315) a month.
The small city concept car, developed by Riversimple, has four electric motors and a 6kW fuel cell which maximizes energy efficiency by utilizing lightweight composite materials, eliminating heavy mechanical components and bynetworking fuel cells with ultra capacitors and a 60 percent efficient regenerative braking system. As a result, 240 miles (390 km) can be traveled on one small tank of hydrogen weighing only 2.2 lbs.
Top speed is 50mph and the 200 mile range vehicle accelerates from 0-30mph in 5.5 seconds. A design life of 20 years is claimed.
The networked fuel cell power-train design led to a reduction in fuel cell power requirements by a factor of six compared to other urban vehicles of similar performance and by a factor of 15 compared to other fuel cell prototype vehicles – an effort further magnified by Horizon’s ability to supply high power fuel cells at greatly reduced costs.