View Full Version : Fuel Cell Motorcycles and Unicorns

16 April 2011, 0419
Hey, I was doing some research for a post on fuel cells (http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/the-whole-foods-fuel-cell-how-it-works/) after paying a visit to my local Whole Foods, and stumbled on my own post from '09 about the ENV fuel cell bike.


I had completely forgotten this post, and the fact that they had working prototypes in the videos. Ironically, it was this bike that got me going on electric bikes in the first place. Now, the comment that I always think of is "I can't wait for a fuel cell motorcycle, I'll park it right next to my Unicorn!" from, wait, who said that here, again please? So I kind of dismissed it.

So has anyone seen or heard anything about the ENV?

16 April 2011, 0434
Haven't seen anything new. I think they should make a battery pack that drops in place of the fuel cell. It reminds me of the Battlestar Galactica 1980 turbo cycles.

16 April 2011, 0752
I can't recall seeing much about fuel cells recently. There was that company that was making them around here for commercial businesses, as I recall. I think I made a post about it last year. Then there was my recent post about the H2 powered airplane. While it didn't mention a fuel cell, its H2 engine was powering four electric motors, so I kind of concluded that the H2 part was a fuel cell - but maybe not. Fuel cells seem not to be in fashion this year.

16 April 2011, 0803
Haven't seen anything new. I think they should make a battery pack that drops in place of the fuel cell. It reminds me of the Battlestar Galactica 1980 turbo cycles.

That is Soooooooooooo weird. I just started watching that show (the original series) for the first time this past week (Yes for the first time).
With all the stuff from work and other projects I only get about a meals worth of watching time....

Netflix Junky

and Yes, I do have a unicorn... If you get me drunk I will show it to you... (No Ted, it is not what you think.... :O )

16 April 2011, 1331
Galactica 1980 came out when I was in junior high, and was dissapointed in the show (I had been a big fan of the original series) but really wanted one of these motorcycles. If I remember correctly, only two full working bikes were built, and they were pretty much just fiberglass fairings on Honda 100 cc bikes with inverted handlebars.

Put some clip-ons on the ENV and cut the fairing to make room for them, and you're almost there...

16 April 2011, 1513
I just ordered the entire last year's series of Battlestar Glactica, which includes that episode for $15 from a bookstore back east.

Those motors look like the ones that the were in the Sachs Wankel of the late 1970's. But they used an air-cooled industrial motor Wankel version as I recall. It had a 250cc performance range. Sachs saw what a great job Suzuki did with their Wankel motorcycle and decided that they would also sell one. They had even less success than Suzuki in selling them, too. But they did look a lot better to my eye.

17 April 2011, 0353
Wow. OP to BSG in less than 3 posts. That's gotta be a record. Be careful or I'll tell you the secret ending.

Well, after a little looking around, the ENV H2 was put together by Intelligent Energy, and they have a Suzuki version as well:

They look like a fuel cell / battery hybrid of sorts.

Also, a partnership with Suzuki is announced on that page:

"Following in the footsteps of the ENV In October 2007 at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, The Suzuki Motor Corporation unveiled the Crosscage concept fuel cell motor bike powered by an Intelligent Energy fuel cell power system and rechargeable lithium batteries.

Intelligent Energy and Suzuki are working closely in partnership and the Crosscage was the first result of collaboration between the two companies for the production of a unique Suzuki motorcycle design, utilising Intelligent Energy’s advanced air cooled fuel cell power system.

In March 2008 Intelligent Energy and Suzuki signed a development agreement which further strengthened the partnership and envisages the progression to commercially viable fuel cell motorcycles. Intelligent Energy’s high performance fuel cell power systems coupled with Suzuki’s commitment to low-emissions transport mean the reality of hydrogen powered motorcycles is closer than ever."

So all that stuff is a few years old- here's a release in March '11: http://www.intelligent-energy.com/news_events_and_press/news/85/
"Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company, and Suzuki Motor Corporation, have today announced that the jointly developed Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter has obtained Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) – the first time any fuel cell vehicle has achieved this level of certification. "

More on the Suzuki site: http://www.globalsuzuki.com/globalnews/2011/0309.html
"The Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter debuted at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in October 2009. Since February 2010, Suzuki and British company Intelligent Energy, which developed the Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter’s fuel-cell system, have been jointly participating in trials of the scooter on public roads under the aegis of the British government’s Technology Strategy Board2. The trials are being conducted in the area surrounding Loughborough University in central England using a single Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter unit."

Finally, from cnet: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10446657-54.html

"The Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter is fueled by a cylinder of hydrogen, which reacts with oxygen to produce electricity and water. A lithium-ion battery and fuel cell provide the vehicle's power and the only gas emitted through the exhaust is water vapor.

Unlike other fuel cell vehicles, the battery does not need recharging. It can recharge itself when accelerating or decelerating and continues to produce power as long as it has hydrogen and oxygen."

so. ummmm.


17 April 2011, 0519
Personal experience with Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, lets just call them Temperamental Little Biotches or TLB.
You WILL need a battery to handle the transients. These TLB's cant spool the current too fast, either up or down. because spike in current draw means a spike in hydrogen draw, and it cant get there fast enough.
Fuel cells also need water to run without destroying themselves in a matter of hours. They can recover water from their exhaust, but it is bulky. We barely got them to package n a car.
Oh, and they like their inlet humidity to be about 95% on the H2 and air sides. So you need hardware there.
The ones I worked with are TLB's
Now, things may have changed with PEM or Hydrogen fuel cells. Progress happent all the time. One such thing is the Bloom Box, which is a different type of fuel cell called Solid Oxide, and it is a HOT fuel cell, like 600C kinda hot.

So, you want to package a TLB fuel cell, the water management stuff, and a high power battery with enough energy to sustain the transients, and you want it all to package on a bike with decent power?
Perhaps a Unicorn woulds have better chance with it.

17 April 2011, 0757
Well, it would appear they must have some unicorns working for Suzuki... :D

17 April 2011, 0931
Like I said, innovations happen all the time. They may have co-invented some new membrane material that dont have the water issues Im familar with.

Looking at the available site info:
they claim to have solved the water issues, and have a 2kW air cooled unit.
It is a scooter, and no one expects the performance of a bike.
Is 2 kw enough for nominal power? It could be if you had a BIG battery, and the fuel cell ran for a while after the rider parked it.

I may be just a PR thing too.

17 April 2011, 1003
Shall I mention the two 900 lb Gorillas in the room?

Where does the Hydrogen come from?
What expensive catalyst are they using in their reaction?
Makes for great press and diverts peoples attention just as intended. Now about those Gorillas.....

17 April 2011, 1507
I just have to hijack this thread again. (After all we were talking about unicorns, weren't we?) I went to a car show today and the Pulse had returned. I posted photos of it on the original site, but I find this vehicle fascinating and thought I would show it off again. The handwritten sign on the vehicle says it would do 170 mph, however I am not at all sure that I would want to be in it at that speed. I don' think it ever made it in to a science fiction movie, but I did see one on the freeway when they were new. It would really be great as an EV. With that shape and size you could probably get some great speed and range out of the design.

17 April 2011, 1514
Now about those Gorillas.....

(the gorillas are scaring the unicorns)

17 April 2011, 1545
Run unicorns! Run!!!

A Pulse? and such a profesional display of information.

I offer....mmmm.. 100$ for it.