Title: Hypercars, hydrogen, and the automotive transition

Authors: Amory B. Lovins, David R. Cramer

Addresses: Rocky Mountain Institute, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road, Snowmass, CO 81654-9199, USA. ' Hypercar, Inc., 220 East Cody Lane, Basalt, CO 81621, USA

Abstract: Designing and making cars differently - emphasising ultralight weight, ultralow drag, and integrated design - can reduce required propulsive power by about two-thirds. This can make direct-hydrogen fuel cells and commercially available compressed-hydrogen-gas tanks practical and affordable even at relatively high early prices. Coordinating such vehicles with deployment of fuel cells in buildings permits a rapid transition to a climate-safe hydrogen economy that is profitable at each step starting now. New manufacturing and design methods can also make these radically more efficient vehicles cost-competitive and uncompromised, as illustrated by a 2.38-litre-equivalent-per-100-km midsize sport-utility concept car designed in 2000 by Hypercar, Inc. Major reductions in the required capital, assembly, space, and product cycle time can offer key competitive advantages to early adopters. These changes are increasingly recognised as portents of unprecedented technological and market transitions that can make cars climate-safe and the car and oil industries more benign and profitable.

Keywords: carbon fibre; composites; design integration; FiberforgeTM; fuel cells; fuel economy; fuel efficiency; hydrogen; Hypercar; lightweighting; mass decompounding; ultralight; whole-system design; automobile industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2004.004364

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2004 Vol.35 No.1/2, pp.50 - 85

Published online: 10 May 2004 *

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