Hydrocycle: The Future of Hydrogen-Powered Electric Motorcycles

Electric vehicles are currently in high demand, with manufacturers constantly pushing the boundaries of design and engineering to create more efficient and fast-charging machines. While fast-charging technology has made significant advancements in recent years, hydrogen presents another potential solution for quick recharging while driving a zero-emissions vehicle.

While we have previously discussed internal-combustion hydrogen engines developed by Yamaha and Toyota, today we are focusing on a hydrogen-powered electric motorcycle, similar to the Toyota Mirai and other hydrogen-powered EVs. Developed by a collaboration between German and Czech organizations, the Hydrocycle concept aims to revolutionize the future of two-wheeled mobility.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) is a key supporter of this project. In their official press release, they explain that one kilogram of compressed hydrogen can power a car for approximately 62 miles. Due to its compact nature, hydrogen holds great potential for smaller vehicles like scooters and motorcycles. However, developing a motorcycle with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric powertrain is not a simple task, as it requires an onboard system to convert hydrogen into electrical energy, which can be quite heavy.

Nevertheless, the consortium is determined to develop a working prototype that meets European standards by 2025. The prototype will be drivable and primarily designed for urban mobility, with a focus on industrial segments such as last-mile delivery. The ultimate goal is to achieve CO2-neutral mobility and reduce noise emissions.

Fraunhofer IWU explains the collaborative efforts involved in bringing this idea to life. Czech organizations, including design house 1to1design, the Czech Technical University, and research and development firm ÚJV Řež, will work together to develop the platform for the motorcycle. Meanwhile, German companies like Fraunhofer IWU and WätaSwärmetauscher Sachsen GmbH will focus on the powertrain, specifically the fuel cell stack and electric motor that will propel the motorcycle.

The Hydrocycle project has the potential to make a significant impact not only on the European motorcycle industry but also worldwide. The European Union has introduced a hydrogen strategy with the aim of incorporating hydrogen into mainstream mobility by 2030. This aligns with the EU's ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.