Lotus has unveiled a futuristic hydrogen-powered FCV concept car which they say will give us a glimpse at the year 2025. Though Lotus has given us a glimpse they prefer to talk about the materials used in the body of the car rather than the fuel cell power train.
What is known is that the hydrogen fuel cell will power two electric motors which drive the rear wheels. Now, what Lotus is most excited about is talking about the frame and body of the vehicle which is lightweight but tough as nails.
The frame of the vehicle is made by lightweight and very strong carbon fiber. The frame is covered by the ultra lightweight materials, Lotus calls do3 and metal rubber.
According to the Spanish Fuel Cell Association, “The d3o is a non-Newtonian material that usually behaves like a rubbery gel, but when struck immediately turns into an extremely sturdy solid. So, this material could give the passengers great protection during an accident. The metal rubber can be stretched and molded like rubber, making the bodywork react to the movement of the suspension system.
“It is also capable of conducting electricity, giving the freedom to adjust the shape in accordance to the onboard computer. The body of the car can change shape while moving to keep the airflow as smooth as possible.”
Now, this may sound a little far-fetched but if true this could revolutionize the transportation industry. Lightweight materials that save fuel, are as safe as possible during crashes and adjust aerodynamically to road conditions could change the landscape of automobiles and other vehicles on the road forever.
But, there are more questions than answers at this point about both the fuel cell system and the materials used in the body of the vehicle.