Scottish Daily Mail

Fuelled by the universe!

- BY RAY MASSEY MOTORING EDITOR

AS BRITAIN’S motorists are forced by the Government into a future of electric cars charged from the mains, some experts are asking: should we be stepping on the gas instead? By that they mean hydrogen — the most abundant element in the universe. The question came into sharp focus this week when billionair­e British tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe signed a landmark deal with Korean car giant Hyundai to produce zero- emission versions of his f orthcoming new I NEOS Grenadier 4x4 that will run off hydrogen-powered electricit­y.

Many experts believe hydrogen fuel cells are the real green future: part of what might become ‘a hydrogen economy’ featuring cars, trucks, buses, planes and even homes.

Fuel cell cars are effectivel­y ‘green’ power stations on wheels. They have zero emissions as their only byproduct is water.

Remarkably, they also purify the surroundin­g air as they drive by filtering out harmful particulat­es. Fuel-cell champion Hyundai aims to leapfrog the battery-technology of electric cars.

Its five-seater Nexo fuel cell is not cheap, from £65,495, but its 414-mile range beats most electric cars. It does rest to 62 mph in 9.54 seconds up to a top speed of 111 mph.

A fuel cell car such as the Nexo doesn’t burn hydrogen. Hydrogen from its high pressure fuel tank is used in a chemical reaction — reverse electrolys­is — which takes place in a micro-thin membrane. The membrane acts as a catalyst for a reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen from the air, which generates electricit­y.

In a trial, a single Nexo purified 918.75kg of London air: the same amount one person breathes in 60 days. But not everyone is convinced.

A recent report by Cambridge-based IDTechEx says battery technology is catching up on range and found that fuel- cell cars are 60 per cent more expensive to buy and three times as much to run.

 ??  ?? Soft cell: The Hyundai Nexo claims a greater range than electric rivals
Soft cell: The Hyundai Nexo claims a greater range than electric rivals
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