The hydrogen-powered Piaggio

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Written by Kfir Kedem - June 01, 2020

As an engineering company, Bertrandt develops and pioneers new automotive technologies. Their latest innovation is promoting the use of hydrogen as an alternative propulsion solution. They are one of few companies to have an approved facility for handling highly reactive hydrogen gas, which enables them to experiment with hydrogen as an automotive fuel source. As hydrogen is highly reactive, a facility must hold very high safety standards to be approved.

Bertrandt has converted the Tuktuk- looking Piaggio Ape 50’s two-stroke combustion engine drivetrain into a fully electric drivetrain that is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. It is impressive that they have been able to do so, but why not stick to battery technology rather than hydrogen?

Hydrogen has zero pollutants and if it is produced using solar power, it is a completely emission- free solution. The solution also allows vehicles to have longer ranges than ones equipped with batteries and refueling is done in a similar time to petrol or diesel vehicles.

Auto Trendy’s take:

There are definitely many benefits that hydrogen fuel cells have over batteries when used to store energy. The main issue with moving the market towards hydrogen- powered vehicles is the infrastructure involved. Setting up hydrogen fueling stations is much more expensive than setting up battery charging stations as there is already an electric grid in place. It would be interesting to see where this technology goes, but for it to ultimately work, the hydrogen charging infrastructure would have to scale up at a much quicker rate than it is now, or the development of battery technologies would deem hydrogen fuel cells unnecessary.