UK-based startup Viritech has unveiled the ‘Apricale’, a prototype of what it calls “the world’s first production hydrogen hypercar”.
The company says the car will go into production in 2023, limited to 25 models, each costing about NZ$2.7 million. Viritech is not saying much about Apricale’s powertrain, only that it is aiming for output of around 750kW (1100hp).
Apricale is a play on the latin ‘apricus’, meaning ‘warmed by the sun.’ Viritech describes the car as “our Trojan horse, the attention-grabbing icon for a business focussed on developing hydrogen powertrain solutions for the automotive, aerospace, marine, and off-grid power storage industries.”
What is different about the car’s fuel system, says the company, is that the graphene-reinforced hydrogen storage tanks make up part of the monocoque chassis.
“To date, hydrogen fuel tanks have been attached to the vehicle chassis, rather then incorporated as an integral component,” it says.
“Due to the extremely high pressures at which hydrogen is stored in gas form – up to 700 bar – even when constructed with carbon fibre, they have a highly unattractive weight efficiency.
“It was a moment of epiphany when we realised a hypercar would be the most effective way to demonstrate hydrogen’s advantages over batteries, when power and range requirements increase, or long-term energy storage is required. ”
The Apricale is Viritech’s start point for a cleantech revolution based on zero emissions hydrogen powertrains. It has developed prototypes of a truck, the Jovian (below), and SUV, Tellaro, using the Apricale’s powertrain.
Jovian, it says, is a reference design to demonstrate to original equipment manufacturers the potential of hydrogen heavy goods vehicles to revolutionise the transportation industry. Tellaro is also a reference design.
Says Viritech: “As the world goes electric, powered by wind, waves, and solar energy, storing, and distributing electricity for off-grid use will be a major challenge
“Lithium batteries have an important role and an important place in the energy infrastructure, but on their own, they do not offer a sustainable, scalable solution.
“They suffer from mass-compounding, as energy storage requirements rise, and mining unsustainable supplies of rare metals, is heaping yet further pollution on our jaded planet
“Hydrogen, nature’s battery and the lightest and most plentiful element in the universe, offers us endlessly recyclable, scalable energy storage, to complement green electricity made with wind, waves, and solar energy.”
The global hydrogen council is forecasting that by 2050 hydrogen will power:
• More than 400 million passenger cars worldwide
• Up to 20 million trucks and 5 million buses
• It will provide 18 per cent of the world’s total energy needs
• …. and create 30 million jobs globally