A team of investigators at the UNAM (Mexico's biggest university) have developed a so-called multifunctional ecologic vehicle, which is powered by hydrogen and fuel cells. The car development, which belongs to the ECOVIA project was included in UNAM's La ciudad y la energia (the city and the energy) macroproject.

Aesthetically, the car was inspired by cougars, UNAM's mascot. From the right side, designers claim that the car resembles a jumping feline, whereas the front fascia resembles the face. The back of the car was also inspired by the cougar's nape.

As for the engine, as all hydrogen cars, the result is water, which is collected to be reused by the fuel cells to generate more hydrogen. The car will be equipped with two hydrogen tanks and a rack of batteries. The car is a series hybrid, while there's plenty of electricity in the batteries, the car only uses the fuel cell to power the batteries, but power can be diverted directly to the powertrain in case of high power demand. Batteries are NiMH. Expected performance for UNAM's model is an average speed of 70-80 km/h (about 50-55 mph) and will be able to run for 300 km (190 miles) before refueling.

The project is currently at a 70 percent of development and is using off-the shelf components already existing in current vehicles. Nevertheless, the project would require new, specific pieces for mass production.

If you wondered why they call it multifunctional, it's because the car's platform is designed in such a way it can be adapted for different uses: ambulance, surveillance, postal service, plastic waste recycling (!) and telecommunications and culture promotion.

  • The prototype is able to average a speed of 50mph while refuelling every 200 miles
  • The car is inspired by the Cougar, UNAM's mascot
  • The side part of the vehicle ressembles a jumping cougar; the front is its face; nose and eyes become the front lights.
  • Mariano Garcia and Gerardo Arzate unveil the multifunctional ecologic vehicle developed at the UNAM

[Source: UNAM (link is in Spanish)]

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