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Transportation Earth

Sahimo Hydrogen Vehicle Gets Over 1,300 mpg 453

Posted by kdawson
from the see-it-to-believe-it dept.
Mike writes "Students from Turkey's Sakarya University have unveiled a remarkable attempt at creating Europe's most fuel-efficient vehicle. Dubbed the Sahimo, their pint-sized hydrogen car is cable of eking out an incredible 568 km on 1 liter of fuel (about 1,336 miles per gallon). An aerodynamic carbon-fiber construction keeps the vehicle's weight down to less than 110 kg (243 lbs), and the designers hope to push the Sahimo's performance even further to a full 1,000 km per 1 liter of fuel before participating in the Global Green Challenge in October."
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Sahimo Hydrogen Vehicle Gets Over 1,300 mpg

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  • 1336 MPG (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:58AM (#28618279)

    1,336 MPG

    Still 1 short from being leet!

  • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:58AM (#28618281) Homepage

    At 110 kilograms, how far will it fly when it gets T-boned by a Hummer?

    • Re:The real question (Score:4, Informative)

      by Djupblue (780563) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:10AM (#28618357)

      We don't have that problem in Europe, especially in the richer countries. In Holland it is very popular with cars in sizes from smart cars and a bit larger. Then again fuel here cost about $6.5/gallon. And even while driving much smaller cars than north Americans do we still have less people killed in traffic here in Europe. You are doing something wrong.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_OECD_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate [wikipedia.org]

      • by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:33AM (#28618491)

        Aside from being a bit judgmental, you obviously didn't read the article did you :)

        I've seen electric Barbie jeeps that are bigger than that thing. The average Slashdotter could not fit half an ass cheek in that thing. This thing is merely a prototype to demonstrate their technology, and not an attempt at a practical car at all.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Djupblue (780563)

          If you define looking at the pretty pictures as "reading" then sure I did! ;)

          Of course it is very small, even as a production car it is unfair to compare it to a regular multi-seated car. This is more of a personal vehicle, it has a different use. What it does show is possibility. It is possible to build an extremely efficient car if you put your mind to it. A smart car sized version would probably not get the same mileage but if it got even close, that would be fantastic!

          I, and many others live in a city w

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ThePeices (635180)

          Im not surprised that you have seen Barbie Jeeps bigger than that car. In America, there are only two sizes of anything available. "Huge", and "way over the top freaking enormous". Heck, even the size of the American model of Human is following that trend.

        • Oi! (Score:3, Funny)

          by Moraelin (679338)

          The average Slashdotter could not fit half an ass cheek in that thing.

          Oi! I resent the blanket generalization. I'm pretty sure I _could_ fit about half an ass cheek in that thing.

      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:52AM (#28618591)
        If you are referring to the first column in that table, it's a bogus comparison. Americans drive many more miles per year on average than Europeans, hence more chances to get killed. Second column "Road fatalities per 1 billion vehicle-km" is a better comparison and US figure very much in line with west European averages. An even better comparison would take into account the average speeds involved in the accidents as I bet US average speeds are higher (much wider roads on average and more highway driving as trips are generally over greater distances). Yes, I know about autobahns but still in general I think that's true.

        Note: I live in the US and drive a small fuel efficient car so don't mistake me for an SUV lover, I just hate misleading statistics
        • Re:The real question (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lxs (131946) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:24AM (#28618733)

          Americans drive many more miles per year on average than Europeans, hence more chances to get killed.

          Don't forget to mention that you allow sixteen year olds driving cars.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ex-MislTech (557759)

            I think we also have a higher incident of drivers under the influence of something...

            We also have a lot of ppl with a total lack of concern for other ppl.

            The percentage of abuse of illegal and legal substances here in the US is truly mind boggling.

            Most fatality accidents in the US are related to some type of impairment of the driver,
            well til the cell phone came along, LOL.

        • The really interesting question is why the Scandinavian countries (including the UK) are so much safer than the others (except Switzerland.) I wonder if this applies in the US too, with States with a lot of settlement from Scandinavia and the UK having lower fatality rates than, say, the Southern States?

          Incidentally, on UK roads, although an accident may be more survivable in an SUV, you are more likely to have an accident involving a collision with an oncoming vehicle, owing to our narrow roads and many ob

          • by kamochan (883582)

            In Scandinavia one of the key reasons for relative traffic safety is the climate.

            Because of harsh winters, our roads get to crap condition in no time flat. Hence, you need a WRC style car to go fast anywhere. Also, our drivers' ed is fairly thorough, requiring a separate winter driving course.

            Or, it could be the ridiculous taxation, which means that nobody can afford to drive a fast car...

          • by maglor_83 (856254)

            Switzerland isn't a Scandinavian country. I think the reason they have less fatalities is that they are required to take slippery driving courses (at least I saw they do this in Finland, not sure about the others) to get a licence.

            Someone local please correct me if I'm wrong, I just remember seeing something like this on TV one time.

        • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:24AM (#28619475) Homepage

          "If you are referring to the first column in that table, it's a bogus comparison. Americans drive many more miles per year on average than Europeans, hence more chances to get killed."
          So maybe that's what you're doing wrong? You have a high degree of urban sprawl and hence you have to drive too much to get your daily routine done?
          Moreover, I can't find any statistics on average distance travelled so I wouldn't assume that easily that americans drive more or that the difference is significant anyway.

          "An even better comparison would take into account the average speeds involved in the accidents as I bet US average speeds are higher (much wider roads on average and more highway driving as trips are generally over greater distances). Yes, I know about autobahns but still in general I think that's true."

          I'll take your bet and double it. Most countries in the EU have either an 120 or a 130 km/h speed limit on freeways thats 75 or 80 mph for non-metrics. Judging from this map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org], the speed limit is on average lower in the US than in the EU.

          Secondly, traffic fatalities differ wildly from country to country in the EU, as they would probably from state to state in the US if we had the figures available.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Moreover, I can't find any statistics on average distance travelled so I wouldn't assume that easily that americans drive more or that the difference is significant anyway.

            Well, a little bit of math on the existing table would help you out. In the United States we have over twice (2.37x) the fatalities per inhabitant as Germany. Yet, we only have 21 percent more fatalities per KM driven.

            So, yes, I would think we drive a hell of a lot more miles. Close to double.

      • We have dangerous roads. Here in California at least, we have roads that are not divided like freeways, but still allow freeway speeds. All it takes is someone to slip on the wheel, or decide to play chicken, and there's a death. I've known personally two people who died that way. It's sad.

        You know how people always compare death statistics to driving? That it's more dangerous to drive? That's something we could fix, with divided roads. And yet we don't. But then the F22 is one sweet plane.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Malc (1751)

          Have you been to the UK? 60mph allowed on two-way roads narrower than 4m, with no shoulder (perhaps overhanging hedgerows or stone walls right at the edge of the road)? Having driven in both countries, I can tell you that CA is easier. The UK's fatalities per billion kms is far lower than the US's. How does CA compare with the US average?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by esme (17526)

            I've lived and driven in the US (mostly California, Arkansas, and Florida) and the UK (Brighton), and I'd say that urban and suburban driving in the UK is much more challenging. Though I had driven in the US for 10 years without incident, I had to take driving lessons in the UK to pass the driving test, mostly because of the smaller streets and constant need to pay attention to road conditions. In the US, you can often just assume that you can drive down a street, without having to worry about oncoming tr

      • A driver of one of these would have significantly more safety on a motorcycle.

        That thing, if t-boned by a motorcycle, would likely result in the driver dying. This thing has a curb weight of 243lb, which is 100lb less than a small non-highway motorcycle. Consider, also, that it's (likely steel- or aluminum- mesh substructure) carbon fiber: it's significantly less resistant to fracture than any metal (except maybe over-hardened iron).

        Additionally, the driver's vantage point is low. Very low. Again, if hit by

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by smash (1351)

          As a sports bike rider, i say: you're probably wrong.

          • It has more frontal area than a bike, hence it is more likely to be seen.
          • It is not a bike, so there is not the "fuck that guy, he's on a bike and split past me" stigma (not so prevalent in europe so i hear, but rampant here in australia where drivers are (even more) fuckwits
          • Cars can turn better than bikes.
          • Cars can stop better than bikes.
          • Carbon fibre monocoque likely offers significantly more impact and abrasion protection than leather and/or textile mo
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        we still have less people killed in traffic here in Europe

        How the hell do you reach that conclusion given the chart you linked to?!? Did you even look at it? According to it you can conclude that driving in the USA is safer than driving in Ireland or Belgium.

        You are doing something wrong.

        No u

    • by WeblionX (675030)

      Judging by its size, it's more likely to just be pushed along when hit by a Hummer than to be t-boned in any real manner.

    • by Atario (673917) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:14AM (#28618367) Homepage

      Joke's on that Hummer -- it'll be shattered by the massive hydrogen explosion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855)

      It won't, it will get crushed and people will die.

      Just like when any other compact car gets hit by one of those behemoths.

      Hint: I don't think it's funny idiots are allowed to drive contraptions like the hummer on public roads. It makes me want to buy a nice second hand tank to even out the odds.

      On the other hand, it seems that, at least, the age of the hummer is finished. Not even the Chinese would buy it off GM, for a measly 86 million.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        The Chinese wouldn't buy the Hummer because they've already stolen (and re-implemented) the design. Why buy something you can steal?

        • Why would you steal something nobody in their right mind would buy?

          And pray tell me what great innovations are to be stolen from the design of the hummer?

    • At 110 kilograms, how far will it fly when it gets T-boned by a Hummer?

      I hear American version will weigh 120kg - the extra 10kg is a roof-mounted AT guided missile. Specifically for the Hummers.

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)

      that or run over by a semi, but they would only think it was a oddly placed speed bump

    • You didn't say how fast the Hummer was going, or if it was an H1, H2, or H3 (or how overweight the guy driving it is for that matter).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I don't know, but watching Top Gear has taught me that I really must have a vehicle that can move faster than a honey badger.
  • Not too impressive. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:05AM (#28618319)
    Considering that high-school students in the U.S. have built viable vehicles that get over 1,000 miles per gallon of gasoline. They should be able to do better with hydrogen.
    • by koreaman (835838)

      Much less hydrogen fits in one gallon than does gasoline.

      • by Tontoman (737489) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:33AM (#28618493)
        Gases are compressible. Gallon is a measure of volume. Theoretically, highly compressed hydrogen would give you liquid hydrogen. Hydrogen compressed occupies 3 times more volume than gasoline for the same energy. http://www.planetforlife.com/h2/h2swiss.html [planetforlife.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I stand corrected. While it is what I would consider to be non-intuitive, it turns out that hydrogen contains massively less potential energy per volume measure than gasoline.
          • by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:24AM (#28619039) Homepage

            It takes more energy to make hydrogen than what you get back out of it. You can't make this at home. But you can make electric power at home, for free.

            Hydrogen fuel necessitates a distribution network exactly the same as for petrol. This is why the oil crazies in the Bush regime pumped money into hydrogen and nothing into electric, even as electric cars worked and people loved them to death.

            Plus, it's unbelievably explosive - in concentrations between 2% to 98% it's explosive. So you either must have none or very close to 100% hydrogen for it not to explode. Now, when gasoline turns into a vapour and creeps along the ground then explode if lit you can get a 30 foot or more radius is vapour with corresponding explosion as the vapour ignites. And gasoline is a fairly heavy dense molecule compared to hydrogen which is the lightest molecule known, and since it's really a gas, unlike gasoline which will sit there as a liquid for days, hydrogen turns from a liquid to a gas in much less than one second.

            If you have a tank with 5 gallons of hydrogen and the tank is ruptured - and eventually this absolutely is going to happen one day - then the resultant break and explosion would very much on the order of what is definitely not conducive to human life. That is, you'll be ok unless that tank goes, then you're pretty much a goner, much more so than with gasoline.

            Between the fact you have to buy it from the oil barons and can never make it your self for free and is the most explosive substance known, yeah, hydrogen is great. Not.

            I think if we knew what we were doing we'd immediately stop anything to do with hydrogen cars and stick to electric. Keep in mind before the oil companies paid the car companies to stop making electrics, there were more electric cars than gas powered cars on the road in the early 1900s.

            • by locofungus (179280) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @07:16AM (#28619665)

              Hydrogen doesn't explode unless well mixed with oxygen. Normally it just burns. (Burning hydrogen is almost invisible so there is a risk that someone might not notice that a leaking hydrogen cylinder is burning) The R101 didn't explode. Neither did the Hindenburg. In fact, despite the hydrogen in the Hindenburg completely burning in less than a minute most of the passengers and crew survived (the diesel continued to burn for a long time afterwards)

              Secondly, it's much lighter than air. This means that leaks and flames go upwards, unlike a gasoline spill that spreads out over the ground while it burns.

              If the fuel in the Hindenburg had been uncontained gasoline rather than hydrogen it's hard to see how any of the people on board the airship could have got clear in time (and I'd have expected lots of people on the ground to be killed as well)

              Tim.

            • by Sandbags (964742) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:39AM (#28620197) Journal

              I agree completely. A few points though: We can NOT use the same ipeline systems... We either need pipelines capable of sustaining 980 atmostpheres of pressure, or pipelines refrigerated to not more than -241 celcius. and that pipeline would need to move 2.3 times as much H2 as it currently moves gasoline.

              This assumes we're piping Liquid H2. If we're piping gaseous H2, and compressing it on-site of storage, or as it goes into taker trucks, then we'd need pipelines with as much as 1,000 times the capacity.

              Here's an alternative that uses Wind energy, waste (sequesterd) CO2, and a 50 year proved scientific process to make GASOLINE at $80/bbl. www.dotyenergy.com. That CAN use our current pipelines and gas stations, and our current cars, and THIS gas releases NO NEW CO2 into the air than is alredy there from opther sources.

              Unlimited, cheap, gas that can be made here at home, and can't be controlled by massive monopolies.

      • by fractoid (1076465)
        That thing only travels 25mph. Any of the vehicles in the World Solar Challenge [wikipedia.org] could do the distance in half the time without using any fuel at all, and (it feels weird to say this) be more practical, at that.

        21g of fuel per 100km is incredibly impressive, yes, but when there are clearly superior solutions to the same problem, it becomes mainly of academic interest.
    • by smash (1351)
      Gasoline is 3.4x more energy dense than hydrogen, when it comes to a "by volume" measurement. So, is being 3.4 less energy efficient something to brag about?
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:06AM (#28618327)

    but I'd rather see a competition that takes regular cars and modifies them to get the most gas mileage. The problem with these uber gas-mileage vehicles is that they're street legal, have no safety equipment, and don't go very fast.

    • Hmmm, that should say "they're not street legal"

    • by Starlon (1492461)
      You're talking about the Model-T right? Granted with a little work, someone can fix those issues.
    • This is how I'd start to approach making a modern street car more fuel efficient:

      * start with a small sedan (Ford Focus, Honda Accord, etc.)
      * rip out anything unnecessary from the inside. This includes all the comfort electronics. Weight requires more energy, so remove as much as possible.
      * remove all unnecessary subsystems that leech from the alternator: air conditioning, power steering, ABS, etc.
      * remove the "emission control" measures, which seem to invariably sap a good 25%+ fuel efficiency.
      * add an HHO

  • ...if it had smooth disc wheel covers and an attempt at wheel skirts.

  • Electricity Hydrogen (Score:4, Informative)

    by moniker127 (1290002) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:24AM (#28618433)
    In my opinion cars driven by electric motors are where we should be placing our bets.
    Electric motors can go very quickly (at least the speed limit), have great acceleration, don't require a grid of hydrogen fuel stations to be built, don't require the massive amounts of energy used for electrolysis (the process of making useable hydrogen), have 0 risk of exploding (although admittedly hydrogen vehicles are pretty safe, but its more of a mental thing), and are ridiculously efficient. You know that about 3% of the energy used in internal combustion engines actually ends up moving the driver? With an electric motor, it is more like 50-80%, depending on the type of vehicle.

    You could argue that we're just shifting the dependance (and the green house gases) to power plants- but this would open a door to a 100% maintainable system, it just requires an eventual (much more eventual than current state) shift over to clean power for plants. Our existing grid could easily handle 20 million plugin cars.

    The only thing we're waiting on is efficient battery technology for the range of the things.
    • by MadKeithV (102058) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:52AM (#28618589)

      Electric motors [snip] have 0 risk of exploding

      Yeah because lithium-ion batteries are perfectly safe! [wikipedia.org]

      • by moniker127 (1290002) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:58AM (#28618619)
        A lot safer than compressed hydrogen canisters- especially considering that the batteries in electric cars are separated to prevent any sort of massive failure. Worst case scenario one out of 6,300 cells pops, and you have to open it up and replace it.
        • by adolf (21054)

          ...which, of course, will always work just fine. Everyone knows that safety systems are all infallible, and all work exactly as intended.

          Oh. And nothing ever catches fire.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Make (95577)

        That's the general problem when you concentrate a lot of energy in little space. There are practical differences between fossil fuel, hydrogen, urane and batteries, but the concept of accidentally releasing (converting to pressure/temperature) much of this energy is pretty much the same.

    • by tonyr60 (32153)

      In my opinion cars driven by electric motors are where we should be placing our bets.

      Electric motors can go very quickly (at least the speed limit), have great acceleration, don't require a grid of hydrogen fuel stations to be built, don't require the massive amounts of energy used for electrolysis (the process of making useable hydrogen), have 0 risk of exploding (although admittedly hydrogen vehicles are pretty safe, but its more of a mental thing), and are ridiculously efficient. You know that about 3% of the energy used in internal combustion engines actually ends up moving the driver?

      I think you mean 30%, if you are referring to petrol (gas in USA) and 45+% for diesel.

      • No, 3% is closer.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by billstewart (78916)

        If you're an average American, your car probably outweighs you by a factor of 10-20 (unlike this lightweight vehicle, which you might outweigh :-). So no more than 5-10% of the energy is moving you as opposed to the vehicle, and *then* you can go multiply by 30-45% depending on fuel, etc.

        Also, one of the most common methods of producing hydrogen today isn't electolyzing water, it's cracking methane or other hydrocarbons.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      ICE are actually about 30-40% energy efficient in terms of the energy utilized to move the vehicle. I assume that was what you were referring to, unless you're under the presumption that a vehicle with an electric motor can weigh about 1.5x what the driver does.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      At over 1300 mpg, there's really no need for a dense grid of Hydrogen stations to begin with, as you'll rarely need to fill up and having to drive out to a station wont take that much out of the vehicle's range with a filled tank.

      Heck, maybe it will be possible to simply order Hydrogen in small quantities and have it delivered to the consumer to fill their tank.

    • You know your efficiency figures are wrong and meaningless, right?
      Where the hell did you get that 3% figure??? Last time I checked, it was more about 40% for combustion engines.

      Plus, you'll have to multiply your 50-80% by the efficiency of a power plant, between 30 and 60%.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Where the hell did you get that 3% figure??? Last time I checked, it was more about 40% for combustion engines.

        But how much of that energy is used to move the driver, as opposed to hauling the vehicle itself around?

  • by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:31AM (#28618489)

    I'm sure you can find some nice radioactive thermal generators that have under a liter of fuel in them. That will get you a hundred thousand miles per liter easily.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by velen (1198819)

      Did you mean a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Renraku (518261)

      Yes, but most cars don't require a NRC license to own/operate/sell.

      Under current NRC rules, you could be held responsible if you sell the car and:

      The new owner wrecks it, causing contamination.
      The new owner takes it apart and manufactures nuclear weapons and/or contamination-based weapons.
      The new owner sells it to people who do the above.
      The new owner gets rid of the car by driving it off the local dock or into the local rock quarry.

  • 1,336 MPG? Is that city or highway?

    Seriously though... What is the practical fuel economy of this vehicle under normal driving conditions? With a strong tail wind and solid tires, everything I own is 'capable' of 100MPG. In practice, 40 MPG is about what I expect.

  • by skeffstone (1299289) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:17AM (#28618701)
    I'm surprised. Why does this 3rd place winner get this attention? If the numbers are anything to impress with, take a closer look at the winner, the Norwegian contribution, clocking in at 1246 km per 1 liter of fuel equivalents. Official Results: http://www.shell.com/home/content/eco-marathon-en/europe/2009/results/app_results_2009.html [shell.com]
  • Miles per gallon, or kilometers per liter, is only a useful measurement when we're comparing vehicles with the same fuel. Getting a 25% increase in miles per gallon of gasoline would be great. But is 568 kilometers on a liter of Hydrogen even GOOD? How expensive is that hydrogen? (How many kilos of coal were burned to generate the energy to generate the hydrogen?) How dangerous is a fast-moving vehicle with a liter of hydrogen?

    This may be great, but the statistic is pretty meaningless. They could g
    • by skeffstone (1299289) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:35AM (#28618789)
      Again, for all participants in Shell Eco Marathon, including the Norwegian contribution, and the Turkish one, they are allowed to use the amount of energy in 1 liter of petroleum. The unit is not 1 liter of hydrogen, but 1 liter of gas. They use hydrogen which is consumed in fuel cells, but the amount of energy in that xxx volume hydrogen equals the amount of energy in 1 liter of gas. The efficiency of the whole system is reflected directly by how far they get with the fuel they are allowed to take on board the vehicle. UrbanConcept Fuel Cell class: 1st place: 1246 km 2nd place: 804 km 3rd place: 568 km
  • Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2obvious4u (871996) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @08:35AM (#28620143)
    They need to change the rules on these efficiency challenges. This vehicle [inhabitat.com] and this vehicle [inhabitat.com] are completely impractical.

    The rules need to be:
    1)Must carry more than one occupant in a seated position.
    2)Must maintain an average speed of at least 30 mph.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      Why?

      1. The technology/designs they come up with will still occasionally apply to more traditional vehicles, so that's useful. Allowing such small and slow vehicles makes costs lower resulting in hopefully more experimental entries.

      2. You aren't in it (and I'm not either) but I suspect there is a market for pure commuter vehicles. One person only, small, just needs to get the person from home to the train/bus/whatever car park (or even all the way to work, though in the US commute distances are so long that

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