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Report: Suzuki to commercialize fuel cell motorcycle in Japan; on-road testing begins in 2016

The Nikkei reports that Suzuki Motor plans to commercialize a hydrogen powered fuel cell motorcycle, with plans to start testing it on public roads in 2016 once Japan’s transport ministry finalizes the relevant safety and environmental standards.

Suzuki already has a joint venture with Intelligent Energy Holdings that will produce a Burgman fuel cell scooter. (Earlier post.) The high-pressure hydrogen tank is small enough for a motorcycle. The first Burgman scooter will be based on Suzuki’s existing 120cc model.

The Nikkei report said that Suzuki hopes to turn its fuel cell two-wheeler into one of its major products; Suzuki also intends to develop compact four-wheel vehicles that run on hydrogen.

Comments

electric-car-insider.com

It will be fascinating to learn the price of the fuel cell stack and the scooter. Making the cost competitive with other commercial scooters will be quite a feat.

Especially interesting that Suzuki has taken this route considering the range attainable on cost competitive lithium Ion batteries, not to mention upcoming 400Wh/kg gen 2 offerings.

Long range requirements on a smallish scooter are a bit of an oxymoron.

Roger Pham

When Walmart switched their forklifts from battery powered to H2-FC powered, we know that H2-FC is more cost-effective for ZEV purpose.

electric-car-insider.com

Roger, the logic in your assertion is so faulty it is almost amusing. A forklift use case has zero in common with the use case of light vehicle passenger transportation.

You've tried to make the same case in other forums and your argument has been soundly rebutted.

Why do you persist trying to push such an obviously faulty line of reasoning? It calls into question your motivation. Maybe you're just trying to make hydrogen advocates look silly.

HarveyD

It is difficult to understand why a few (short, medium and extended range) BEV fans will not accept the arrival of competitive PHEVs.

Nothing wrong with complementary clean technologies. End users will select the technology best suited to their needs.

Burning fossil and bio fuels in ICEVs will progressively be replaced with a mix of BEVs and FCEVs. May the best or most suited technology win.

electric-car-insider.com

I welcome competitive PHEVs, and even FCVs, provided they're not just a head fake or greenwash job.

It's the non-competitive ones I'm not keen on. I am truly fascinated by what Suzuki plans; there doesn't seem to be as much opportunity for puffery in a small two wheeler. If its not priced competitively, it will be a joke - a bad one, and Suzuki will look very foolish in the eyes of customers and shareholders, not to mention talented and earnest employees. So I expect they have something promising in the labs.

The fueling infrastructure is another matter. I guess they're placing a big bet on someone building it before that scooter ships. I dont think too many people will buy a scooter without a sincere intent to drive the wheels off of it.

Unless maybe Suzuki will be targeting fork lift drivers, who will lobby for workplace recharging.

HarveyD

I noticed that many ICE two and three wheelers pollute a lot in many major cities in Asia. To clean up (the air) in those cities, those small vehicles will have to be up-dated and probably electrified with improved batteries and/or improved FCs.

Initial cost will most certainly be higher, as is the case with most new technologies. A progressive pollution & health tax + adequate short-mid term initial purchase subsidies could fix that.

El Nino 2016 may be severe enough to make many of us think more about Global Pollution effects. People in many major Asian cities are getting tired of wearing masks.

electric-car-insider.com

I completely agree, Harvey, which is why I argue so strenuously for truly workable solutions rather than whiz-bang baubles that are not commercially viable.

I sincerely hope there is some substance behind Suzuki's announcement, and that they've got a viable plan for refueling. It is, as you point out, an urgent matter of life or death in Asia, and long-term everywhere else.

I own an electric eMax scooter, and have spent some time in the workshop upgrading its controller and swapping Lithium-ion for its original lead-acid batteries. The path to a competitively priced electric is clear, and Gogoro, xKuty and many others seem to be producing designs that make full use of the potential.

It will be interesting to see how Suzuki accomplishes a design that competes, considering that the only competitive advantages H2 could lay claim to, range and refueling time, are or will soon be, obviated by adequate battery range. Packaging even a half kg of hydrogen along with a fuel cell stack and BOP will be a real trick on a scooter. The photos I've seen ti date of H2 scooters produced by independent researchers have to date looked like something out of a Mad Max movie.

There's always the possibility that after seeing Yamaha's latest v2 iteration of their PES, or Honda's electric Cub concept, Suzuki felt compelled to put out a "top this!" presser.

We'll all know the answer in a few years.

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