Hydrogen Powered Motorcycle.

Spaceman Spiff

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 9, 2003
243
0
Montreal Gazette

I rode a $500,000 (U.S.) motorcycle in a ritzy New York hotel.

The Warwick hotel was built in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst ostensibly - rumour has it - to house his mistress.

Far more remarkable, however, is the motorcycle I was riding. The ENV (emissions neutral vehicle) is the world's first hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle. The 80-kilogram, futuristic-looking bike reaches its 80-kilometres-an-hour top speed in about 12 seconds.

As with all electric motors, maximum torque is available from a standstill, so it accelerates from zero to 30 km/h in about four seconds. Higher speeds (perhaps up to 160 km/h) are possible, but the ENV (pronounced "envy") was built to showcase the technology in a user-friendly package. It has one gear (direct drive from the electric motor to the rear wheel) and is as easy to ride as a moped - just twist the throttle and go.

Unlike a moped, however, the ENV emits just water vapour, and the only sound when it's running is the low hum of the fuel cell's two fans, like a small humidifier. The fuel cell, or CORE as it's officially called, is the size and shape of a computer hard-drive tower. At 18 kilograms, it can be easily removed from the bike and set on the ground, humming quietly.

It's easy to imagine a future when you could drive the ENV to the lake, remove the CORE to run your boat and then use it again to power your cottage.

The ENV has a range of 160 km, depending on how heavy you are on the hydrogen. It generates power during coasting, so it's possible to stretch the range a little. The hydrogen to fill the tank costs about $3 U.S. And there's the rub: like all hydrogen-powered vehicles, the problem is the accessibility of hydrogen. It's just not available - yet.

California, which probably will be the major market for hydrogen vehicles, has six hydrogen refuelling stations and promises close to 100 by 2010. There are seven stations in Canada, says Richard Frye, program director for Fuel Cell Infrastructure at the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance (a branch of Natural Resources Canada). The stations (two in Vancouver, one in Victoria and four in Toronto) are for experimental purposes and are not accessible to consumers.

Andy Eggleston, ENV project director (the ENV was created in London by Intelligent Energy), envisions a

fuel delivery system the same way milk is still home-delivered in some places. Even if that does happen, the other problem with hydrogen is that, using current technology, it's produced from natural gas, which burns fossil fuels.

Eggleston says the future will see biomass - like sugar cane, corn and soybeans - easily converted to hydrogen, perhaps in your garage by something he calls a reformer. "It's a couple of years off," he says of the technology, "but it will take bio fuel and strip out the hydrogen. It will emit C02, but only what was contained in the plant and would have been released during decomposition."

It almost sounds too good to be true. But Eggleston says Intelligent Energy has working units now. It must clear several hurdles, including governmental approval and production issues, though, before it can be offered to the public. Intelligent Energy is betting on it. The company plans to sell the motorcycle next year for about $6,000 U.S.

Though my test ride took place in the empty conference room of an old hotel echoing with history, all I could think about was the future.
Read this in my local newspaper a while ago, if you Google it is was featured in a good few other nes sources. I wouldn't mind riding one of these things in a couple years. If the two stations in Vancouver open up then I'll simply have to get one. Would be brilliant for commuting around town.

I read that there's group petitioning to get it to have an artificial engine noise so pedestrians would hear it coming.

EDIT: The offical website...




For more images...
 

Music_Producer

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2004
1,626
0
The technology is there, its just the oil barons and the governments of the world who won't let this happen. Why ruin profitability when natural resources still exist? Keep plundering them as much as possible.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,859
57
Somebody is also releasing a true diesel motorcycle in 2006, that'll have so-so performance and get 100MPG with a 600 mile range.

Not really anything spectacular, but quite nice range for a on/off road cycle.

Which should make the eco-nuts crazy with the black soot being ejected out the back. :D

Wonder if someone will do a propane conversion cycle.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,238
4
man i would love one of those, i hope the governments and technology come together on this....
 

wrc fan

macrumors 65816
Sounds cool, and I'd gladly get one if I could ever afford it, but I'd really prefer that they make a more conventional looking on-road bike (like a sport-bike). The one in the pictures looks like some bad MX bike from a 80's movie about the future.
 

ham_man

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2005
2,265
0
Looks horrible, and still not more efficient than just plugging the darn thing in...
 

Jon'sLightBulbs

macrumors 6502a
Jan 31, 2005
524
0
Chicago
Music_Producer said:
The technology is there, its just the oil barons and the governments of the world who won't let this happen. Why ruin profitability when natural resources still exist? Keep plundering them as much as possible.
Gross sweeping generalization. Honda and several other manufacturers have the capability of producing hydrogen powered passenger cars, but their production cost is several hundred thousand dollars per unit. There is no artificial government or oil lobbyist limit on alternative fuel powered cars. The limitation is strictly cost.
 

Cheese

macrumors 6502
Sun Baked said:
Somebody is also releasing a true diesel motorcycle in 2006, that'll have so-so performance and get 100MPG with a 600 mile range.

Not really anything spectacular, but quite nice range for a on/off road cycle.

Which should make the eco-nuts crazy with the black soot being ejected out the back. :D

Wonder if someone will do a propane conversion cycle.
Tell me more about this diesel bike? who is releasing it? I must know!!
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,418
124
Location Location Location
Lacero said:
You need energy to produce the hydrogen. Kinda back to square one.
Agreed.

And when you plug in an electric vehicle, its not like no waste is being produced.

I think hydrogen is the future, but right now it just seems pointless with the way they're getting the hydrogen.

What happened to all the cars that run on biofuel? On vegetable oil and stuff like that? Surely if that can be done now, it is also the best option right now.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Wake me up when the technology to power our cars is truly revolutionary: like being powered by my poop and the emission from the car is stuff I could eat.
 

neut

macrumors 68000
Nov 27, 2001
1,843
0
here (for now)
Lacero said:
Wake me up when the technology to power our cars is truly revolutionary: like being powered by my poop and the emission from the car is stuff I could eat.
We have the technology: poopy link

Imagine eating food that was cooked using natural gas generated from your own human waste. Thousands of prisoners in Rwanda don't have to imagine it -- they live it.


peace | neut
 

neut

macrumors 68000
Nov 27, 2001
1,843
0
here (for now)
Lacero said:
Wake me up when the technology to power our cars is truly revolutionary: like being powered by my poop and the emission from the car is stuff I could eat.
how about chicken poo?

Russell discovered that combining chicken waste (excreta plus sawdust or hay) with water under pressure yields a fuel that can power conventional diesel engines.

The Poop on Fuel-Efficient Cars (Wired)


peace | neut
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,859
57
"If (an engine) will run on anything from Exxon or Chevron, it will run on our fuel," Hamrick said.
Comparing their fuel to chicken poop should really make them happy. :p
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,179
3,441
Twin Cities Minnesota
BMW has been working on Hydrogen for years, and has even built a car that currently 9 world records for hydrogen combustion engined equipped cars. The concept is called the BMW H2R, and was at NAIAS 2005 in Detroit not long after completing the tests that won it world records.

BMW has financed the build of many of the Hydrogen refilling stations in Germany and other european countries, and is leading in making it a real world reality for automotive transportation.

BMW is also close to world production of bi-fuel vehicles that can run on Both Gasoline or Hydrogen. If you are unable to get to a hydrogen filling station, simply fill the normal gas tank, and have the car run of that mode.

And as some of you may know, BMW also builds some tasteful bikes ;)
 

Eric5h5

macrumors 68020
Dec 9, 2004
2,412
438
Once the hydrogen generation problem is sorted out, the remaining problem is that these fuel cell engines need a part made with platinum to work. There isn't enough platinum on the planet to replace every gasoline engine wih a fuel cell engine.... However, I seem to remember reading recently about research into using some sort of silver alloy instead. Or something.

And I think the "artificial engine noise" idea is just too silly. Sure, here we have a near-miraculous engine that also happens to reduce noise pollution as well as other kinds, so let's just deliberately add noise pollution back in? No way...how about people look both ways before crossing a street, instead....

--Eric
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.