MIT's Electric Vehicle Team Developing Hydrogen-Powered Motorcycles

With the rise of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), it is evident that the future of transportation is electric. However, there is a growing interest in hydrogen energy as a fuel source for electric vehicles and internal-combustion engines.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is joining the hydrogen revolution with its Electric Vehicle Team. Known for their expertise in building and racing innovative electric vehicles, the team is now focusing on developing hydrogen-powered electric motorcycles by 2024.

In October 2023, MIT's EV team successfully demonstrated a hydrogen-powered prototype. What sets this project apart is that the team has made the prototype an open-source design, making the plans available online. This allows for further development and experimentation with the prototype.

Aditya Mehrotra, a graduate student working with mechanical engineering professor Alex Slocum, is leading the project. Mehrotra, a motorcycle enthusiast, came up with the idea of a hydrogen-powered electric motorcycle. The team believes that while batteries have improved significantly, they still have limitations, such as long charging times. Hydrogen refueling, on the other hand, could be as quick as filling up a gas tank.

The hydrogen-powered motorcycle works similarly to a battery electric motorcycle with a range extender. It has a motor that drives the wheel and a motor controller that converts DC power into AC power for the motor. The hydrogen system acts as a charger, continuously recharging the battery as the motorcycle is in motion.

MIT's Electric Vehicle Team has made significant progress with the project, presenting it at the Hydrogen Americas Summit and planning to showcase it at the World Hydrogen Summit. The prototype has also been featured at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The team's ultimate goal is to increase demand for hydrogen and develop the necessary infrastructure and technology. They envision a future where hydrogen replaces fossil fuels, providing the same level of efficiency and convenience as gasoline.