Machine Design

Scanning for Ideas: Fuel Cell Powers Motorcycle

The Crosscage, a concept motorcycle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, was one of the big crowd pleasers at last year’s Tokyo Auto Show.

Edited by Stephen J. Mraz

And it could be coming to a bike shop near you, if bike-maker Suzuki and Intelligent Energy (, a British fuel-cell company, continue to pursue commercialization. (And even if a network of hydrogen filling stations isn’t quickly developed, Intelligent Energy is developing a hydrogen generator for home use that could fill the gap.)

On the Crosscage, a fake gas-tank cover hides the fuel cell while the electric motor mounts on a swing-arm/rear-wheel assembly. It stores hydrogen in a tank located where the engine sits in a conventional motorcycle, and the lithium-ion battery and motor controller are beneath that. The fuel cell uses a proton-exchange-membrane design that is constructed of thin metal plates. This makes the fuel-cell stack compact and suitable for high-volume production. Suzuki claims the bike will perform like a 125-cc motorbike, and the only emissions will be pure water. It should also be incredibly quiet, compared to other motorcycles.

The bike also has single-sided front and rear suspension with the rear wheel bolting to the motor and swing-arm assembly. This means the front and rear wheels are only supported on one side, in this case the left side. The front fork, for example, only has a left tine.

TAGS: Energy Archive
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