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MIT builds an open-source hydrogen electric motorcycle that runs on fuel cell

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MIT introduces hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle 

 

Using a fuel cell system, MIT’s Electric Vehicle Team builds a hydrogen-powered electric motorcycle with swappable parts. The dirt-motorbike-looking vehicle can be built by the riders on their own since MIT designed it as a two-way open-source platform. First, its body parts and engine can be swapped out easily, so the maintenance, repair, and experimentation are easier to carry out. Then, MIT is expected to make the plan available online, so the riders can create their versions at home or in their workshops. The electric motorcycle successfully took its first full test-track demonstration in October 2023.

 

MIT’s Electric Vehicle Team, which consists of about a dozen students, says that its hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle is not dedicated to entering races or competitions, but designed o be presented at a variety of conferences. They have been working on building the prototype since January 2023, and in October 2023, they presented the bike at the Hydrogen Americas Summit. The team showcased the hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle at CES 2024, and after that, it will head to the World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands in May 2024.

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
images by Adam Glanzman, courtesy of MIT | video stills courtesy of MIT

 

 

Hydrogen Electric motorcycle based on a 1999 frame

 

It took MIT’s Electric Vehicle Team a year to put together the prototype of their hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle. They received some of its components as donations from their industry sponsors including the fuel cell. The first few tests were carried out on a dynamometer, which is a kind of treadmill, to act as a mock road. The team shares that they used battery power during the development as they waited for the fuel cell, which was provided by the South Korean company Doosan.

 

They built and tested the hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle within their main space at MIT’s Building N51, and the team has used a frame from a 1999 motorcycle, with many custom-made parts added to support the electric motor, the hydrogen tank, the fuel cell, and the drive train. True to the open-source nature of the ride, they are working on designing an electric motor from scratch for the prototype after they used a commercially available one for testing and research.

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
using a fuel system, MIT builds a hydrogen-powered electric motorcycle with swappable parts

 

 

Open-source design with swappable parts

 

So far, MIT’s team members are curating a guidebook to document the step-by-step process of how they built the hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle from scratch, so riders can construct their own too. It has been a part of the team’s goals from the start, and by making everything available as an open-source design, they encourage riders to be an active participant in their months-long research.

 

Since the hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle is open-source, both visually and document-wise, riders can swap components in and out, so they can experiment with the kind of parts and engine that are suited to their needs. MIT’s team says that the project is an on-going one as they look into the future of hydrogen and fuel cell as the main components of electric motorcycle and other vehicles.

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
MIT is expected to make the plan available online, so the riders can create their own versions

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
it took MIT’s team a year to put together the prototype of their hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
true to the open-source nature of the ride, the team is working on designing an electric motor from scratch

mit-diy-hydrogen-powered-fuel-cell-electric-motorcycle-open-source-designboom-ban

MIT is curating a guidebook for the step-by-step process of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
MIT’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle was built and tested in the institution’s Building N51

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
the first few tests were carried out on a dynamometer, which is a kind of treadmill, to act as a mock road

mit open-source hydrogen fuel cell electric motorcycle
the fuel cell was provided by the South Korean company Doosan

mit-diy-hydrogen-powered-fuel-cell-electric-motorcycle-open-source-designboom-1800

MIT plans to showcase its open-source hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle at CES 2024

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