Hydrogen, due to its abundance in the universe, is touted as an ecofriendly alternative to fossil fuels to battle the energy crisis and global warming. Fueling cars with fuel cells is not a new idea, but their practical use has been marred by a few drawbacks, such as the high cost of the cells and the risk involved in storing hydrogen. The auto industry is trying to tame the drawbacks by designing concept cars that have the potential to keep the world moving at a pace we are accustomed to. Here is a list of 20 such concept cars that will be powered by hydrogen; and the only thing coming out of the exhaust pipes would be clean water:
• BMW HR2 hybrid car:
The BMW HR2 hybrid car is a prototype race car only and we will miss it in the showrooms. BMW is also developing fuel cell cars, using the technology of the hybrid cars. BMW promises to launch a dual-mode version of the current 7 Series during the production cycle of the present model, thus introducing the first car of its kind able to run on both hydrogen and gasoline.
• Ronn Motors Scorpion Roadster:
Developed by Ronn Motors, the Scorpion Roadster is powered by the hydrogen/gasoline engine that not only ensures low emissions, but also promises the thrill for which supercars are known for. The Scorpion comes with a classy body featuring low-slung front-end, swept-back headlamps, hood vents and bulbous fenders, together with huge air-intakes aft in the front doors.
• H2 Racer:
This zero-emission car has been designed to bid for the title of world’s fastest hydrogen-powered racer in 2009. Apart from aiming for the record, the car has been designed to demonstrate the power of clean fuels like hydrogen to the world. The car is powered by an internal combustion motorcycle engine that has been modified to run on hydrogen. With an ecofriendly engine in place, the car is expected to reach speeds in excess of 170km/h.
This hydrogen-powered fuel-cell transportation vehicle seems to come from Toyland. The whole structure is encased between two giant wheels that are controlled by two separate electric motor powered by fuel cells. Quirky and wacky are the two words that kind of fit this car aptly.
• City Concept Car:
Designed by Matt Bradbury, the City Concept runs on hydrogen fuel cells and can be parked tails up. While vertical parking is not something a normal car owner would like, taking the lightweight body and the protruding wheels of the City Concept into consideration, it doesn’t look to be a weird thought.
• Aston Martin DBGT 2025:
Designed by Brendan Woolsey, a student of Industrial Design at the University of Western Sydney, the Concept Car of 2025 would be powered by a tank full of water that is split into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is used as fuel for the car, leading to zero emissions. If anything, the classic exhaust fitted on this future car will only give out water vapor and some heat. Going from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, the car has two really strong assets.
Designed by James Logan, the “Renault Vitesse” is small, safe and ecofriendly at the same time. While the Vitesse would be made using extremely lightweight hybrid plastic, it would derive energy from clean hydrogen fuel cells. It would also be fitted with unique bike mountings at the rear end to eliminate any need of roof racks, which not only look weird but also spoil the aerodynamics of a car.
• Volkswagen Splinter:
Here is concept car that seems inspired by the Smart Fortwo, but instead of a conventional gasoline engine, this car is to be powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell counterpart. The two-seater car has been designed specifically for the Volkswagen brand with the radiator grille and boot lid sporting the brand’s logo. The car should be perfectly suited for congested city lanes, where parking is a major problem.
• Hyundai 2020:
Designed by Nicolas Stone, the Hyundai 2020 is inspired by plants. The car generates fuel for itself using nothing more than sunlight and water, the two fuels for plants to carry out their natural processes. The transparent solar cells that the car is equipped with generate electricity from ambient light and use it to carry out electrolysis of water, finally generating hydrogen, which fuels the car.
• Jaguar C-XC:
Designed by Philip Dean, the Jaguar C-XC comes with a hydrogen fuel cell drive train mounted under the single-piece glass surface, which covers the entire length of the car, adding to its aerodynamic aesthetics. The wheels of the car are also covered to further increase its aerodynamic properties. Apart from being powered by a zero-emission engine, the materials used for constructing the body of the car will have minimal environmental impact. The car is designed to be built from vegetable tan leather and recycled PET bottles.
Designed by Mathieu Lewis, the Rt20 is to be powered by liquid hydrogen. The hydrogen fuels a twin-turbo V6 engine promising a power-driven ride. The car is no less in safety and comfort features. The conventional spring-based suspension is replaced by electromagnets for better response. The response can be adjusted even more by regulating the current passing through the magnets.
• Honda FC Sport:
The FC sport is based on the V-Flow stack of the FCX Clarity concept car. The car incorporates a high-power fuel cell stack, located between the rear seats, and a backup battery pack placed in the middle of the car.
• The Baja 1000 Buggy:
Designed by Dong Tran, a Vietnamese-American design student in Detroit, the Baja 1000 Buggy has been designed for a green race on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. The car comes with a primary hydrogen fuel cell power source, which gets complemented by a battery charged by solar cells that are infused in the body of the car. The solar cells provide continuous energy, while the racer concentrates on the track. The use of hydrogen fuel cells mean that the only thing coming out of the exhaust would be clean water that would be recycled to help hydrate the driver during the grueling race.
• Mazda TONBO:
Designed by DedekDesign and Mazda of Europe, the car is to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells to ensure that all that comes out of the exhaust is pure water. Just like the Rinspeed Scuba, this car too is designed to drive in water. Another innovative feature to be incorporated in this car is the use of an anti-vandal parking system that takes care of some parking woes.
• General Motors’ HydroGen4:
The HydroGen4 uses 440 single hydrogen cells that combine hydrogen from its carbon fiber storage tanks and oxygen from the atmosphere to produce electricity, which then propels the car to a top speed of 100 mph. The car is able to go from a standstill to 62 mph in just 12 seconds.
• Volkswagen CitiZen:
The car runs on a hybrid propulsion system that carries batteries and hydrogen fuel cells as well. The wheels of this car rotate 180 degrees, so the user of this car won’t have to do much to take a U-turn. The car can be maneuvered by a joystick that can easily be used from either of the front seats.
• Honda PUYO:
An environmentally responsible car, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the Honda PUYO is meant to convey an adorable pet-like feeling; warm and friendly, forming an intimating bond between the people and the car. An innovative, out of the box, seamless soft box form gives maximum space and has a silky feel to it. The almost transparent jellybean-like body gives a buggy like appearance. The design is complete with ultra soft interiors that are perfect to provide that extra comfort.
• BRB Evolution:
Designed by Daniel Bailey, the BRB Evolution is designed to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The BRB is a car designed to free you up from parking hassles and it is designed to reduce the energy consumed by all those parking lots by reducing the parking space. The concept is so simple and yet so fundamentally sound that it holds your attention and you really have very little to be skeptical about.
Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell bank, the Safari concept is all about giving you all the possible advantages that a heavy vehicle can give you. All the large car dynamics like greater energy absorbing strengthened by independent structural composite fiber panels and sliding door apertures in case of side impacts and rollovers, brings it almost very near to a compact dream car.
• Mercedes-Benz F-Cell:
Developed by 150 trainees of Daimler AG at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant, the F-Cell Roadster is being claimed as a unique blend of art and technology. Powered by a 1.2KW hybrid drive, the car is capable of hitting a top speed of 15 mph and an operating range in excess of 210 miles. Of course the car won’t be the fastest to get off the blocks, but the design and the features do display the feasibility of tweaked historic cars in today’s modern era.