One of the most glittering pieces of eye candy at the Geneva Motor Show this week is a hydrogen fuel-cell roadster built by British automaker Morgan. The Lifecar (for Lightweight Fuel Efficient Car) concept delivers the experience of a high-performance sports coupe while producing zero emissions at the tailpipe. It has a top speed of 100 miles per hour and can launch from zero to 60 in about seven seconds.
The Lifecar’s propulsion comes from a smaller-than-usual fuel cell that powers four independent electric wheel motors. Engineers used a powerful regenerative braking system that stores energy in ultracapacitors in order to downsize the fuel cell. Unlike most vehicles of its kind, Morgan designed the vehicle around the fuel cells, rather than fitting the fuel cells into a space designed for a gasoline engine.
The Lifecar’s uses lightweight materials—in a design modified from Morgan’s Aero 8 all-aluminum chassis—in order to achieve a high level of efficiency. Extra equipment is kept to a minimum in a deliberate effort to reduce weight. The Lifecar, which doesn’t have a stereo system, weight approximately 1,550 pounds.
Of course, the hydrogen infrastructure problem still exists, and will have a big impact on the viability of the Lifecar. The vehicle is in the developmental phase and will run its first test drive later this year.