Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is this what I will be riding in 20 years time?

I sincerely hope not. This is the world's first purpose built hydrogen powered motorbike which is designed by Intelligent Energy. It may be environmentally friendly but I would certainly dispute that it is likely to be fun as they claim. Apparently the only noise is from the tyres - not much use to a Harley loving nut like me then. And probably not very safe if people cannot hear you coming at all.

According to the BBC there is some good news in that there are some downsides to this technology :
  • Producing hydrogen isn't that green. At present, the bulk of it comes from using up fossil fuels. The whole process isn't as polluting as producing oil but it still has an impact.
  • Hydrogen is easy to buy (apparently) and costs about the same as petrol, but virtually no petrol stations sell it.
  • The bike will cost you upwards of £6,000. For a bike with a top speed of 50. For that you could buy a proper bike such as a Sportster and still have change

If anyone is interested the bike also has its own site which can be found here at


MsDemmie said...

No thank you.

For me the whole attraction of bikes is the sound the noise the vibration - that feeling of power.

Damn its been too long ......

Tony Ferguson said...

Comment mailed to me by Michael Darby

I work on the ENV project as design, branding and communications consultant

I was there for the BBC filming session in Loughborough on Monday and Tuesday

I wrote the web entry (as indeed I write and design all the site’s content)

I took the photograph (which you didn’t seek permission to use, tsk, tsk) Note permission now granted

I am a biker too (GoldWing and Suzuki Burgman) as are indeed others on the project team (Fireblade, Harley Davidson ElectraGlide and Moto Guzzi California)

We’d all disagree with many points in your blog, naturally (although of course it’s good to have different points of view!)

I am also an experienced Advanced Biker (IAM) and have presented ENV to my club – with universal acceptance from everyone who saw it

I have been to many places with ENV in the past two years (UK, Norway, France, Belgium, Monaco, USA) and not only has it been enthusiastically acclaimed by bikers and non-bikers alike it’s fair to say that you’d be in a tiny minority. Riding it would give you a different perspective, I’m absolutely sure. I’d suggest that you don’t dispute the fun factor until you’ve tried it...

With regards to noise: interesting, but as an Advanced motorcyclist I am bound to say that greater awareness of safety issues and defensive riding are a far more important part of the mix. I am not a member of the “Loud pipes save lives” school of thinking.

Indeed, last year while in the States with ENV I hired an ElectraGlide for the day. In no way did the (louder than a GoldWing) pipes affect the other road users perception of me being there – how many with car stereos on full blast, people on mobile phones, screaming kids in the back going to make that difference? I could go on! Is the corollary to your viewpoint that we will need ever louder (and possibly more all-round polluting) pipes?

(Don’t forget that the first “horseless carriages” were preceded by a man waving a flag)
ENV’s primary purpose was to act as a technology demonstrator, to prove that hydrogen fuel cells do actually work. And are viable.
The availability of hydrogen is not the problem that you suggest at all. You could pick up the Yellow Pages now and have a canister delivered this afternoon, should you so wish. But it’s true that the demand needs to be stimulated in order for the oil companies to react and build a hydrogen infrastructure. Or that market forces create the demand.
Intelligent Energy also has hydrogen generators under development.

Hydrogen can be safely and easily transported to the point of consumption. Equally, creating a hydrogen refuelling point is neither expensive nor disruptive. It can be integrated into an existing petrol station or can be stand alone.

Tony Ferguson said...

I too have done advanced training (and passed) at Riders Edge and would agree that a greater awareness of safety issues and defensive riding are a far more important part of the mix - but that does not mean that loud pipes don't help as well