ENV Motorcycle Revealed

March 18, 2005
Ken Hutchison
Ken Hutchison
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The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.

Intelligent Energy CEO Harry Bradbury:  In the none-too-distant future people will be able to use a bike like ENV to leave work in an urban environment  drive to the countryside  detach the CORE and attach it to another vehicle  such as a motorboat  before going on to power a log cabin with the very same fuel cell  which could then be re-charged from a mini hydrogen creator  the size of a shoebox.
Intelligent Energy CEO Harry Bradbury: “In the none-too-distant future people will be able to use a bike like ENV to leave work in an urban environment, drive to the countryside, detach the CORE and attach it to another vehicle, such as a motorboat, before going on to power a log cabin with the very same fuel cell, which could then be re-charged from a mini hydrogen creator, the size of a shoebox.”

The latest hydrogen-powered motorcycle was on display at the London Design Museum on March 15, 2005 and the buzz it has created is making waves around the world. The designer of the bike, Nick Talbot of the award-winning British design team Seymourpowell, was recruited by Intelligent Energy to produce this zero-emission marvel that could change the way we look at our favorite two wheeled machines.

The ENV (Emissions Neutral Vehicle) motorcycle is powered by a high pressure hydrogen CORE fuel cell designed by Intelligent Energy and they claim it can reach speeds up to 50 mph. Further revisions are currently in the works that will increase the top speed substantially to make it legal for highway use. The bike has no transmission, instead it utilizes a centrifugal clutch similar to modern scooters, and it can travel up to 100 miles or up to four hours on one fully charged fuel cell.

The CORE fuel cell is about the size of a briefcase and according to Sir John Jennings of Intelligent Technology, can be used to power many more aspects of life beyond just this bike.

“In principle, you can ride your motorcycle to, let us say, your country house,” explains Jennings, “you can take out the Core and use the Core to light your house and provide the power which you need to live comfortably in a remote place. It’s a demonstration, really, of some of the versatility of this new technology.”

The bike itself weighs in at 155 lbs, including the 45 lbs CORE energy unit. The lightweight bike features an aluminum frame wrapped in clean plastic bodywork, aluminum swingarm, mountain bike style brake components and is driven by a slim belt drive and sprocket similar to what you might find on a Harley-Davidson. But unlike your favorite steed, this bike won’t be distinguishable by its sound – the big ‘problem’ the design team is working on right now is improving the audible personality of the bike which sounds something like the fan on your personal computer.

“It is generating an awful lot of interest and it shows one of the many applications that perhaps can be made in the very near future,” continues Jennings. “And if there is a spontaneous pick-up of demand, there’s no reason why in the next few years we can’t see an awful lot of these bikes around.”

Indeed the market for an environmentally friendly motorcycle is already in place – and since the ENV motorcycle was designed in both off-road and street versions, there seems to be no limit where this new technology might spread.

Nick Talbot:  On the one hand  it expresses a utopian future vision of  clean power  anywhere  and on the other  it s an exciting  hard-edged bike and fun to ride.
Nick Talbot: “On the one hand, it expresses a utopian future vision of ‘clean power, anywhere’ and on the other, it’s an exciting, hard-edged bike and fun to ride.”

“ENV is light, fast and fun”, says Seymourpowell’s Nick Talbot. “It has good ground clearance, great off-road suspension travel and a very carefully considered power to weight ratio. I have ridden motorbikes for years and, in the process of designing the bike, I have become a convert to fuel cell technology. The bike is usable, useful and great-looking. It was important on this project to demonstrate that new technologies don’t have to be wrapped up in a dull product – engaging public imagination and enthusiasm is key.”

But, don’t get your hopes up just yet. The program is only in the prototype stage and although it has struck a chord with environmentally concerned folks around the world, will likely not make its way into production for a few more years… but stranger things have happened.

Technical Details:
Motor: 6kW, 48 VDC Brush Motor – LEM-170
Motor Control Unit: Brusa Direct Current – MD 206
Fuel Cell: 1kW Intelligent Energy air-cooled – 2x AC32-48
Hydrogen Storage: High pressure carbon composite cylinder – L65Hydrogen
Energy: 2.4 kWeh
Storage Battery: 4 x 12V Lead Acid 15 Ahr
Weight: 155 lbs.

Performance Data:
0-20: 4.3 sec.
0-30: 7.3 sec.
0-50: 12.1 sec.
Top Speed: 50 mph
Range: 100 miles

Talk about the ENV Motorcycle in the MCUSA Forum