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Honda Patents A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorcycle

Honda Are Working On A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorcycle!

Updated August 24, 2018

After teaming up with Nissan and Toyota, Honda have filed a patent for their first hydrogen fuel cell powered motorcycle. While hydrogen fuel cells have been around for some time on the four wheeled side of the industry, this offering from Honda is the first real serious attempt that we’ve seen to bring the technology to the motorcycle segment. Honda’s collaboration with Nissan and Toyota has existed for a while now, and the three companies (as well as key players from energy companies and venture capital firms) have been working together to make advances for Japan’s interesting “Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells” plan.

Hydrogen Motorcycle 1

The plan was formed by the similarly named Council for a Strategy for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, a branch of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, that has an aim of putting over 40,000 hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles on Japanese roads by 2020. It’s Honda’s aim to help the government reach that figure by building a network of 80 hydrogen fuel cell filling stations across the country over the next few years. How this motorcycle patent fits into their plans is, as of yet, unknown.

A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Motorcycle?

While there’s no prototype to show, Honda have just filed some interesting patent applications that show off their potential future hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle. Rather than experimenting with outlandish designs, Honda have thankfully kept their design language in familiar territory. The frame is nothing new, the forks are conventional, with a shaft driven power train, and the only real difference is the hydrogen fuel cell that now hides under the seat. The fuel cell itself is a cylinder that contains hydrogen that gets mixed with oxygen over a catalyst, providing electricity for the motor, leaving water as the only waste product.

Hydrogen Motorcycle 1

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that water is a far more environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline emissions but at the moment there are a couple of drawbacks. While the refueling time is quicker, it’s only quick if you can find a filling station that can refuel you. Hydrogen isn’t particularly safe or easy to transport and store, so that’s another problem too, and of course, producing hydrogen isn’t particularly cheap either. But these small problems will have solutions in the near future.

In fact, Honda have been working on fuel cell powered vehicles for over a decade now but it’s the infrastructure issue that stopped its models like the Clarity FCX from becoming best sellers. Now, Honda and many other Japanese companies re-doubling their efforts and building new filling stations, perhaps hydrogen fuel cell (and electric plug-in hybrids) will be more of a mainstream thing over the next decade? If it works in Japan, the rest of the world will pay attention.

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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