• Nov 7th 2006 at 9:53AM
  • 3
Suzuki wants to move more than just drivers with hydrogen fuel cells. The automaker is working to develop a wheelchair that moves on electricity, which is produced in a fuel cell from methanol. The Suzuki Mio can operate for about 25 miles on a four-liter tank. The fuel cell uses the methanol to create hydrogen and electricity, and Li-ion batteries save up what isn't used right away.

The art released by Suzuki, as you might be able to see, shows the wheelchair with "FC Seniorcar" stenciled on the side. Guess who the target market is? Actually, it's no one, at the moment. Suzuki is just developing the prototype and will see if anyone out there wants a hydrogen-powered wheelchair. Last time I checked, seniors were not the earliest adopters of new technologies, so this might be a hard sell. But if Suzuki can make it work easily and cheaply, I'm sure there are some of our elders out there who will want to keep on being green as they age. Still, is a fuel cell wheelchair any greener than the electric ones we have now?

[Source: Suzuki]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      What a completely pointless product and a waste of time and money on Suzuki's part! Don't forget that more energy goes in to making the hydrogen than charging batteries, especially since much of the electric grid in modern nations comes from cleaner sources. I would much rather see seniors outfitting their homes with solar panels to charge their wheelchairs, it would be much more convenient for them than having to "drive" to a hydrogen gas station and the power is infinitely cleaner and can be used in their entire house. This Suzuki thing is overcomplicated, inevitably overpriced, inconvenient, and downright dangerous what with the tanks of fuel in addition to traditional batteries. I'm sorry, but seeing Suzuki choosing this route to go green just makes me mad.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Amazing auto
      • 8 Years Ago
      Too complicated! It needs a methanol tank, a methanol processor, a fuel cell, a battery, and an electric motor. All of these systems add weight and each step costs efficiency. 4 liters of methanol contains about as much energy as about 0.53 gallons of gasoline, so with a range of 25 miles this thing gets the equivalent of 47mpg. For a vehicle that can only move one person at a moderately slow pace, that is pretty bad.

      Interesting experiment, but it looks like battery power is still the better solution.
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