Quasi pronta l’auto ad idrogeno, ecco le caratteristiche della Riversimple Urban Car

di Marco Mancini 62

Una concept car che tenta di eludere i tre principali ostacoli per il sogno delle autostrade alimentate ad idrogeno è stata presentato a Londra pochi giorni fa. Come le altre vetture ad idrogeno, la Riversimple Urban Car (RUC) è alimentata da una cella a combustibile che combina l’idrogeno con l’ossigeno dall’aria e libera energia e nulla di tossico, ma solo acqua.

La Honda FCX Clarity sarà la prima auto che sperimenterà commercialmente quest’idea, ma per la produzione su scala mondiale dovremo aspettare fino al 2018, mentre i primi prototipi della Riversimple si potranno ammirare già nel 2011 e nel 2013.

Utilizzare l’idrogeno nelle automobili significa tagliare l’inquinamento urbano e le emissioni di carbonio, ad un costo minore del petrolio, visto che l’idrogeno è una fonte rinnovabile. A parte la mancanza di distributori, i tre principali problemi per le auto ad idrogeno sono le costose celle a combustibile di platino, la difficoltà nella costruzione di un veicolo convenzionale, e la difficoltà nel conservare ed utilizzare grandi quantità di idrogeno.

Queste barriere sono molto reali, afferma il fondatore e ingegnere automobilistico della Riversimple, Hugo Spowers. “Se la vostra auto è leggera e abbastanza efficente, gli ostacoli sono superati”. La RUC ha circa le dimensioni di una Smart, pesa 350 kg e si avvale di un costo relativamente basso per le celle a combustibile di solo 6 kw, rispetto ai più sofisticati 100 kW utilizzati dalla FCX Clarity.

Il pieno di carburante non dev’essere enorme: solo 1 kg di idrogeno liquido (26 litri a pressione normale) è sufficiente per percorrere circa 300 km. La velocità massima è di 80 km/h, e può accelerare da 0 a 50 in 5,5 secondi. Anche con l’impiego di idrogeno derivato dal gas naturale, le sue emissioni di anidride carbonica derivate dalla guida urbana sono di solo 30 grammi/km.

La RUC è inoltre spinta da quattro motori elettrici, uno per ogni ruota, sviluppati presso l’Università di Oxford. L’accoppiamento dei motori direttamente sulle ruote rende possibile recuperare fino al 50% dell’energia che andrebbe persa per l’attrito utilizzando i freni convenzionali. Questo è notevolmente migliore delle auto ibride ed elettriche, che sono limitate dal fatto che i loro motori elettrici sono collegati ad una sola coppia di ruote.

La RUC non ha ancora una batteria, ma si basa invece su un ultracapacitore,in grado di immagazzinare e rilasciare energia molto più rapidamente, e di fornire la maggior parte dell’energia per far muovere l’auto. Le celle a combustibile funzionano a velocità costante e recuperano energia in frenata, permettendo di restituire il 75% dell’energia recuperata al momento dell’accelerazione. Spowers spera di rendere fruibile la prima flotta nel 2011 in una piccola città del Regno Unito, soltanto in affitto. Il costo sarà di circa 200 euro al mese.

Fonte: [newscientist]

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