A car company in Central China has claimed that it has built a hydrogen powered vehicle that’s capable of traveling up to 500km using only water as power, according to the South China Morning Post.
The vehicle was made by Qingnian Cars in Henan province and made its first drive on Wednesday of last week when local Communist Party chiefs visited the plant. The vehicle has reportedly not been tested over longer distances, but Ping Qingnian, the company’s CEO, said that it could go 300 to 500km using 300 to 400 liters of water as fuel.
Qingnian said: “The cost [of research and development] is a trade secret that I cannot reveal. We achieved this at a low cost, this is our company’s technology.”
“The water that we are using is ours, we don’t have to go to the Middle East to buy [petrol]. Water is not polluting either,” Pang continued, explaining that the engine ran on a chemical reaction using a catalyst applied to a mixture of aluminum powder and water. He said the company could recycle the reactants used in the process.
Hydrogen continues to “gain steam” in the new energy vehicles market, but still remain far less mainstream than electric vehicles. These vehicles generally react hydrogen and oxygen to power an electric motor. To fuel with water alone, the water has to undergo electrolysis, which creates hydrogen power.
Many hydrogen cars in the past have been debunked or written off as not cost efficient or energy efficient. Qingnian’s vehicle was confirmed by an official from the Nanyang Bureau of Industry and Information Technology as “only a prototype” and the car is not in mass production yet.
The company has been developing the technology with Hubei University of Technology since 2006.
Jiang Feng, a professor of material sciences at Xian Jiaotong University responded to widespread skepticism on the web: “If you don’t understand it, at least you should have a tolerant attitude toward it. I think making emotionally charged comments is inappropriate.”