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Hybrid Scooter Would Run on Hydrogen

The Fhybrid scooter can be powered by hydrogen. Flip-flops not included. (Image credit: Crijn Bouman)

An industrial design student in The Netherlands has built a prototype scooter that is designed to be run on hydrogen.

Crijn Bouman of Delft University of Technology designed the scooter for use in inner cities.

He calls it the Fhybrid.

"The look and feel of the scooter are aimed at selling the clean technology inside," he said in a statement today.

The scooter has an electric motor powered by a (Li-)ion battery. If the Fhybrid is ever put into production, the idea is to charge the battery with a fuel-cell system, which would derive its energy from a tank of hydrogen. While scientists are working to make such systems more efficient, obtaining hydrogen (by splitting it out of water) is for now too costly to be practical. Scientists disagree whether it will ever be viable.

The prototype scooter uses a simulated fuel-cell to recharge the battery.

"A special course and various permits are required to build a hydrogen-powered engine. It wasn't possible to achieve this during the time period of my graduation project," Bouman explained. "The faculty is now trying to assemble all the necessary means to fully develop the hydrogen-powered scooter."

The scooter also recharges the battery by snagging energy during braking.

Since two-wheeled vehicles rely primarily on front-wheel braking for efficient stops, Bouman's scooter is front-wheel drive—better to capture the braking energy, he explained.

The Fhybrid has a top speed of 40 mph. Bouman says it accelerates faster than regular scooters and could travel approximately 124 miles on a tank of hydrogen.

Robert Roy Britt

Freelance writer Robert Roy Britt is an explainer of things, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience, and author of the science thriller “5 Days to Landfall.” His writing is here.