The search for zero-emission technologies based on the electrification of propulsion does not only concern four-wheeled vehicles. The electric bikes enjoyed real global success, as did the mopeds and the scooters which are increasingly present in cities. However, for larger displacement motorcycles with the ability to travel, the weight of the batteries affects their autonomy, so the solution is complicated. In this point, hydrogen fuel cell can be a solution, autonomy what it offers and for a few very short charging times. This is how the creators of Hydranail electric motorcycle of high performance fueled by hydrogen and which is intended the basis for a full range of configurations.
Hydra is a creation of the designers Anton Brousseau, Andre Taylforth and Anton Guzhov, from the prestigious international design studio Kiska Design. The motorcycle features a concept futuristic cruiser look powered by hydrogen. The three authors claim that the underlying fundamental idea is applicable to a wide range of motorcycle configurations of different styles and types.
The technical operation of Hydra is similar to what can be found in the hydrogen electric cars that have been launched on the market, as is the case with the Toyota Mirai or the Hyundai Nexo. The motor that drives the rear wheel of the motorcycle is electric. To operate it, hydrogen stored in a pressurized tank hidden behind Hydra’s center fairing is used to power a fuel cell that generates electricity from oxygen in the air, which drives that only the exhaust water comes out and makes these vehicles zero local emissions.
The ace advantage of this technology compared to electrochemical batteries, which can also power an electric motor, are the autonomy and the refueling speed which provides hydrogen, similar to those of a fossil fuel. In a two-wheeled vehicle, the trade-off between battery weight and range is at a very delicate point that can be difficult to resolve.
Hydrogen, which in theory has several advantages, also provides many disadvantages. Several technical and economic obstacles still have to be overcome before it can be considered as a commonly usable source of energy. The main one is sustainable production and affordable hydrogen, which is an energy-intensive process. Inevitably, to meet its “zero emission” definition, it must be green hydrogen, that which is produced using renewable energy. Once you have found a way to achieve this, you need to tackle the problem of immediate availability of hydrogen fuel.
Hydra isn’t the only electric (and concept) motorcycle that’s been showcased lately. Companies like Yamaha and Kawasaki invest a lot in this technology and even Segway has made its Apex H2 prototype a reality with which it intends to develop a production model before the end of 2023. Naturally, the intervention of large industrialists like these, capable of investing large sums in research, may put an end to the still infeasibility of this technology for normal use.