Electric motorcycles are all the rage, with lots of manufacturers big and small rolling out new innovations each year. But it goes without saying that even the most advanced EV motorcycles have their limitations.

Sure, charging technology has advanced leaps and bounds, but even the fastest chargers take way more time than filling up your tank—though Polestar is working on something pretty cool.

Of course, battery swapping technology also exists, but this necessitates dependence on infrastructure which can take years to build. As such, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are exploring how hydrogen fuel cells could pave the way for the future of two-wheeled mobility, despite a host of automakers giving up on the technology.

MIT’s EV Team Is Laying The Groundwork For Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorcycles

We’ve talked about quite a few hydrogen-focused initiatives in the past, with some big names like Yamaha working on innovations in the same space. That said, not a lot of other manufacturers have been rolling out too many hydrogen-focused initiatives.

And so MIT’s Electric Vehicle Team wants to change this.

These guys have quite an impressive track record when it comes to building and racing electric vehicles, both of the two-  and four-wheeled varieties. What it’s working on in the hydrogen-powered motorcycle space is a little bit different, though. But it could be their daringest, most impactful project yet.

Instead of participating in races and competitions, the prototype will be featured in conferences and exhibits in a bid to build awareness and encourage research in the field of hydrogen.

As for the prototype, it’s a fully functional model that the EV Team says is affordable enough for small-scale production (i.e., for use in prototype applications), but not quite ready for the market just yet. It makes use of a hydrogen fuel cell provided by Doosan Fuel Cell, a South Korean company specializing in lightweight fuel cells used mostly in drones.

The motor used in the prototype was a commercially available unit, but the MIT EV Team is working on their own motor, completely designed from scratch for better performance and efficiency.


Perhaps the biggest effect the prototype will have on the industry is the fact that the MIT EV Team is developing a sort of textbook documenting each step of the project. Everything from conceptualization, design, and fabrication of individual parts will be highlighted in the textbook and will be made available to folks who want to follow in their footsteps, or perhaps even build on the team’s progress.

Aditya Mehrotra, a Mechanical Engineering student and researcher spearheading the project, explained that the prototype is more than just proof of concept, but rather, a catalyst for manufacturers around the world to take hydrogen more seriously. “We’re hoping to use this project as a chance to start conversations around ‘small hydrogen’ systems that could increase demand, which could lead to the development of more infrastructure,” he said.

It goes without saying that we’re in some of the most interesting and exciting times in the motorcycle industry. As demands around the world change, manufacturers are forced to innovate and think outside the box. Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been around for quite some time now, but hasn’t gained the traction battery electric vehicles have enjoyed in recent years.

Surely, as more and more companies develop hydrogen infrastructure, it will serve as a viable fuel alternative, powering not just hydrogen electric vehicles, but hydrogen-powered internal-combustion engines, too.

But that’s a topic for another story.

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