I’ve talked about Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies Ltd. (APFCT) before. In August 2010 I had talked about how APFCT was producing 10 hydrogen microcars and 10 fuel cell scooters.
Then in January 2011, I had talked about how the first swappable hydrogen canister station had been setup at the National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan. One of APFCT’s fuel cell scooters had been taken on a 620-mile test drive around Taiwan.
As an update, APFCT has released a little more information about its next generation hydrogen fuel cell microcars and the refueling infrastructure. The fuel cell microcar is a one-seat vehicle with a 50km/hr speed and a 0-160km driving range. The vehicle is meant as a city car for people to use on their daily commutes. The Microcar contains six hydrogen metal hydride canisters in back which can easily be swapped out in about one minute.
According to APFCT, “After exchanging the canisters, users can immediately continue the journey. In comparison with battery powered electric vehicles, the refueling is much faster, more convenient and safe. Such canister exchange model is very similar to the home city gas distribution system in Taiwan; hence, it is a highly mature model to be adopted easily and quickly. In the future, all existing gasoline stations, as well as other existing retail networks (e.g. convenience stores) could be utilized as exchange stations/exchange points to enable the selling and exchange of hydrogen canisters. In this way, the driving range could be extended unlimited as with ICE vehicles.”
What is unique about this model is that a vast hydrogen fueling station infrastructure doesn’t have to be built for this to work. This would be similar in the U. S. to going to a gas station, Wal-Mart or Home Depot to get a propane tank for your BBQ. This kind of infrastructure is already in place and could be easily adapted for hydrogen microcars and fuel cell scooters as well.
According to APFCT, “The technologies are ready for commercialization in mass production.” Similar programs could be emulated in hundreds if not thousands of other locations around the world. APFCT has taken the first small step for man. Who will take the next big leap for mankind?