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Honda plans hydrogen motorcycle

Honda hydrogen hybrid electric

Honda is forging ahead with plans for hydrogen fuel-cell motorcycles.

A patent for the design which was submitted in late 2017 has just been made public.

The design shows a rather conventional bike from the outside with a perimeter frame, telescopic forks and shaft drive.

However, and the seat is a hydrogen gas tank and an electric motor.Honda hydrogen hybrid electric

Honda has been in the news recently with other motorcycle patents including a cooling/heating seat and a leaning three-wheeler.

These may seem fanciful, but Honda has always been at the forefront of technology.

Hydrogen fuel cells

The Japanese company started working on fuel cell cars more than a decade ago with the Clarity FCX.

Fuel cells work by burning hydrogen and oxygen to create heat and produce electricity for the motor. The only emissions are water vapour.

Hydrogen power has been limited worldwide by the lack of filling stations, but the technology is supported by several auto manufacturers.

Hydrogen fuel cell refuelling
Hydrogen fuel cell refuelling

Many believe it is a superior alternative to electricity which often comes from polluting coal-fired power plants. There is also the problem of how to dispose of used batteries.

While it takes hours to recharge an electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel cells can be refuelled in the same time as a petrol vehicle.

However, there is some resistance to fuel cells over safety issues of transporting and storing the volatile gas as well as the costs of its production from water by electrolysis.

So far, this resistance has limited the number of hydrogen flying stations. However, Honda is working on the technology with Toyota and Nissan who plan to open their own hydrogen filling stations.

Honda is also hedging its bets on future power sources with hybrid and electric motorcycles in the interim.

PCX electric futuristic benefits - hydrogen
Honda PCX Electric scooter

Honda made its first petrol-electric hybrid car in 1999 and has produced many electric concepts over the years. They also back the Mugen electric TT race bike.

  1. When measured from factory to tailpipe, Hydrogen is actually an incredibly dirty fuel – dirtier than petrol.

    Electrolysis is not viable for industrial production – the majority of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels! From the wiki page only 4% of hydrogen is produced by electrolysis.

    Hydrogen gas has good energy density by weight, but poor energy density by volume versus hydrocarbons, hence it requires a larger tank to store. A large hydrogen tank will be heavier than the small hydrocarbon tank used to store the same amount of energy, all other factors remaining equal.

    1. Weight of tank is not relevant when regenerative braking is used. After the initial non renewable energy use to get started on the renewable energy generating infrastructure, already Well along, the renewable use can grow geometrically. Efficiency doesn’t matter considering the amount of solar energy arriving at the earth’s surface. More than we could use if there were 100 billion people, and so much even beyond that, there is enough to produce any material items from already present raw elements and recycled ones here on earth. The real inefficiency is burning stuff that took millions of years to produce at 100,000 + times that rate.

  2. Hydrogen produced from electricity is very inefficient. Losses on production plus energy to compress it to around 200 atmospheres plus transport of heavy steel tanks containing the compressed gas. So it’s embodied carbon is higher than petrol unless the electricity is produced from renewables. Only makes sense when 90% of the grid is renewable and then it is still less efficient than batteries.

  3. technology changes rapidly, so 2 things worth a mention. a method to produce hydrogen from salt water has been developed and test . it is inexpensive to produce as the water doesn’t require heating as part of the process. it is still a long way from mass production but only requires serious investment.
    2nd thing hydrogen can be converted into ammonia for transport and storage, then easily converted back limiting a great deal of transportation cost. this is also new technology awaiting investment.
    These I believe are both Australian inventions.

  4. Are we ever going to be seeing these in Australia or is it just something to shut up the environmentalists?

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