The use of hydrogen in powering electric vehicles is nothing new. Some of the world's biggest automakers have already experimented with hydrogen power, and though it seems very promising, there are still quite a few hurdles to overcome to truly make it a substitute for gasoline and battery-powered EVs. Perhaps, there's more potential in the lightweight electric vehicle market.
Indeed, a bicycle manufacturer from China called Yuoun believes this is the case, as it has presented a prototype of its hydrogen-powered electric bike. It's clearly designed as an urban runabout, as it has a folding frame and a rear luggage rack. From a styling perspective, it sports a retro-inspired motif with white rims, and a tan seat, handlebar grips, and tires. Indeed, at a glance, the electric bicycle looks like any other e-bike. It's in that large compartment at the rear where the battery is usually found where things take an interesting turn.
Instead of having a lithium battery pack, the hydrogen-powered e-bike has a hydrogen fuel cell and a low-pressure hydrogen storage device. The system generates power which is then transmitted to the rear hub-mounted motor. At present, specifications are far and few in between, but reports state that the bike can ride as fast as 24 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour). Apart from that, there's no mention about the capacity and claimed range of the hydrogen power source.
What we do know, however, is that there are quite a few benefits associated with hydrogen power, especially when contrasted to battery power. For starters, hydrogen cells are said to be more durable than lithium batteries. They also have a tendency to be more energy-dense. Last but not least, they produce zero emissions, with water being the only result of the chemical reaction. That said, there are also quite a few drawbacks, with the availability of hydrogen fuel being the most glaring.
As of this writing, Yuoun stated that it's ready to start series production of its hydrogen-powered e-bike, and could see it hit the road as early as March, 2023, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 bikes. Furthermore, the brand hopes to ramp up production, until it sees an annual production of 200,000 hydrogen-powered e-bikes by 2025.
Sources: China Daily, eBike News