Swatch To Sell Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car

  on

Swatch Group Ltd., the Swiss company best known for its oversize watches, is testing a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car in Switzerland and hopes to bring it to market within the next three to four years, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday.

The car is being built in a joint venture between Swatch's subsidiary Belenos Clean Power AG and the Paul Scherrer Institute. The two companies began development of the fuel-cell technology in May 2008, and a fuel-cell powered car is now in testing and development.

A prototype of the car, known as the ELV2, has a 40kW electric motor and a 12kWh lithium-ion battery powered by a 25kW hydrogen fuel-cell, Swatch CEO and Chairman Nick Hayek said in an interview with NZZ am Sonntag.

What we don't know is whether it would be cost-efficient to build, Hayek said.

No price has been set but the goal is to give a competitive price, a spokeswoman for the watchmaker said. Swatch was also responsible for the development of the Smart compact car manufactured and sold by Daimler AG. The Smart car starts at $12,490 in the U.S., although the technology used in a fuel-cell car probably would increase the price.

The Paul Scherrer Institute, which is a research group in Switzerland that focuses on the natural and engineering sciences, has been  working with Swatch to develop the car.

The institute said in a statment the venture aims to produce a zero-emission drive train for a lightweight four-seater car.

The idea behind this is to develop a fuel-cell for powering a car that is as economical and durable as a comparable internal-combustion engine, it said, adding, Belenos is working on a system that enable hydrogen to be obtained from solar energy using photovoltaic cells.

There's no confirmation on the state of the solar-powered hydrogen converter. The unit, if produced, would split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen could then be used to power the fuel-cell car. The only by-products of fuel cells are water, electricity and heat.

IOL Motoring has a picture of what they claim is the prototype of Swatch's fuel-cell car. If this is actually the car, the prospective vehicle bears a striking resemblance to the Smart Fortwo.

Join the Discussion
Nintendo's Newest Kirby Game Is A Total Detour
Nintendo's Newest Kirby Game Is A Total Detour
Fitbit's First Activity Watch Falls Short
Fitbit's First Activity Watch Falls Short
Dying Light Is The Spiritual Successor To 'Dead Island'
Dying Light Is The Spiritual Successor To 'Dead Island'
The Last Mitsubishi Evolution
The Last Mitsubishi Evolution
The i8 Is Proof BMW Should Make More Mid-Engined Cars
The i8 Is Proof BMW Should Make More Mid-Engined Cars
QD Vision Shows Off Cheap 4K TVs
QD Vision Shows Off Cheap 4K TVs

More Video