A Suzuki Scooter is the first hydrogen-powered vehicle in Europe to get Whole Vehicle Type Approval.
The Suzuki Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter is currently undergoing trials in the UK – whole vehicle type approval recognises its safety and emissions performance, and means Suzuki will not have to submit every one it imports for Single Vehicle Approval.
Gaining Whole Vehicle Type Approval also allows Suzuki to sell the scooter in every EU member state, rather than seeking National Type Approval on a country-by-country basis.
Suzuki Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter: UK trial
This is a slightly moot point at the moment, since there is only one Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter on the road here.
But the trial, which is being conducted with the backing of the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, is due to expand in the coming months, and will see ‘multiple units’ added soon, according to Suzuki. The testing is taking place in the area around Loughborough University.
Read our guide to Green Car Technologies
Why is this significant?
The Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter is based on Suzuki’s regular Burgman line, but in place of a traditional combustion engine it uses an air-cool hydrogen fuel-cell.
The fuel-cell uses the hydrogen to create electricity – providing silent and emission-free motoring, as the only on the move by-product is water vapour. This is great news for city centre air quality, and Suzuki is looking to commercialise the venture.
Hydrogen is often treated with suspicion – it’s quite a volatile gas, which means particular care and attention must be paid to prevent fuel leaks on the scooter and during the filling process. This Whole Vehicle Type Approval is a step towards the greater acceptance of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
Clearly, our hydrogen future – if we have one – is still a long way off yet, however. There are significant infrastructure and efficiency issues that will require a lot of working out, but projects like this show that vehicle manufacturers are continuing to innovate.
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