Monday, March 3, 2008

The Lifecar - Hydrogen Sports Car

I found this article last night on BBC news about a new sports car, the Lifecar, powered by lightweight hydrogen fuel cells that's going to be showcased at the Geneva Motor Show. It's only in the concept stage now, with no concrete plans for mass production; however, it has some intriguing features. It has a range of 250 miles per tank of hydrogen and boosts "zero-emissions", and when it needs an extra boost to accelerate, it has ultra-capacitors to draw on for additional energy which charge through a regenerative braking system. I was disappointed by the statement that it has zero-emissions in the tagline in the article since electricity is needed to make hydrogen as a fuel source, and most power plants use coal which produces a large amount of CO2. The life-cycle to produce hydrogen is certainly not zero-emissions. It's not until the end of the article that this is pointed out to the reader, at which point it doesn't matter because the case for such a fantastic car running on hydrogen has already been made. The reporting of new technologies convinces the public that we've found the answer and often neglects both sides of the story; in this case, the fact that the car really doesn't produce zero emissions at least not while our electricity production creates emissions. This simple omission of emissions greatly impacts the perspective of the reader.

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