A concept design for the world’s first affordable hydrogen fuel-cell powered mass transport vehicle will be unveiled in India later this week.
Birmingham City University is set to showcase the ‘Millennium Tuk-Tuk’ hydrogen car, designed in partnership with UK motorsport entrepreneur and manufacturer Spencer Ashley and the DYPDC centre for automotive research in Pune, at the Auto Expo Motor Show near New Delhi.
In development since last summer at the Walsall-based manufacturer the idea for the project stemmed from the Indian government’s Hydrogen Highway initiative, which aims to ensure that at least one million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles hit the roads of India by 2020.
The project hopes to produce a four-wheeled replacement for the auto-rickshaw vehicle, known as the Tuk Tuk, which is abundant across Asia with the hope that it could provide a primary mode of public transport for India in the future.
The powertrain for the new car, which produces zero exhaust emissions, consists of a hydrogen fuel cell, an electric motor and a complex control system. Fuel for the car is stored in a cluster of low pressure metal hydride cylinders, providing a safe means of fuelling the system.
Parmjit Chima, head of the School of Engineering, Design and Manufacturing Systems at Birmingham City University, said: “With the current climate agenda of a low-carbon economy and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, the way vehicles are reliant on fossil fuels needs to change.
“With an abundance of sunshine in India, we have also been developing a ‘Hydrogen Tree’™ concept with a simple and aesthetically elegant design which would be capable of charging multiple hydride stores to power not only vehicles but other appliances and devices too. This research into extracting and storing hydrogen is a real game-changer.”
The Auto Expo Motor Show takes place in New Delhi from 7 to 11 February.