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Morgan LIFECar Fuel Cell Vehicle  (Source: Morgan Motor Company)

  (Source: Morgan Motor Company)
Morgan LIFECar ditches batteries in favor of ultra capacitors

When it comes to energy-efficient, boutique car manufacturers, we've seen a number of interesting concept (and future production) vehicles dangled in front of our eyes. Fisker turned heads with its exotic-looking Hybrid Premium Sports Sedan (HPSS). Connaught turned some heads as well with its Type-D H coupe which features a hybrid powertrain.

Now it is Morgan's turn to jump into the hybrid fray with its LIFECar hydrogen fuel cell concept. The car will be displayed at the Geneva Auto Show and puts a different spin on the long Morgan motoring tradition.

The LIFECar features a hydrogen storage tank which feed a four-stack hydrogen PEM fuel cell. According to Morgan, the QinetiQ-manufactured fuel cell operates at 45% efficiency and generates 22kW of electricity.

Power is routed to four electric motors/generators -- one for each wheel. The electric motors used are 92-94% efficient and are capable of taking advantage of regenerative braking.

Interestingly, the LIFECar concept doesn't make use of lithium-ion batteries as used in most new hybrids. Instead, the vehicle will use ultra capacitors which can transfer as much as 1000 amps back and forth when needed.

Morgan says that with its advanced powertrain, the LIFECar will be able to reach 62 MPH in less than seven seconds and reach a top speed of around 85 MPH. The LIFECar will have a driving range of 250 miles and has an equivalent fuel economy rating of 150 MPG.

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Now we're talking
By Chudilo on 2/28/2008 5:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
If this does what they say it'll do, and doesn't cost 100k. You've got yourself the first viable fuel cell car.

RE: Now we're talking
By eye smite on 2/28/2008 5:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that it's kind of cool looking.

RE: Now we're talking
By Vim on 2/28/2008 6:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
All Morgans are.

RE: Now we're talking
By oab on 2/29/2008 1:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Not as cool looking as Morgans of old unfortunately. The Aero 8 looked more awesome (even though it was cross-eyed)

RE: Now we're talking
By UNCjigga on 2/29/2008 2:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
I say it looks like something out of Sky Captain.

RE: Now we're talking
By Trippytiger on 2/28/2008 5:34:27 PM , Rating: 5
It's a Morgan; it will cost more than 100k.

RE: Now we're talking
By Merry on 2/29/2008 7:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
And it will be made of wood and have a 5 year waiting list.

Not that thats necessarily a bad thing. Also, at least they've sort of got rid of its cross-eyed headlights from the aero 8

RE: Now we're talking
By Comdrpopnfresh on 2/28/2008 6:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
YEAH! Except for the whole fuel part...

RE: Now we're talking
By Cygni on 2/28/2008 6:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, you mean besides the Honda FCX Clarity thats due to go on lease in Los Angeles (At $600 a month, mind you) in 2 months, right?

RE: Now we're talking
By mdogs444 on 2/28/2008 7:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
The FCX Clarity - even at $600 lease - is not a money saver. The $12,000 tax credit does not go to you, the consumer, on a lease. It goes to the bank, who essentially purchases the car from the dealer, and is the lien holder.

And seeing as how the Honda Energy Station for the car converts natural gas to refuel the hydrogen car, you are still going to spend much more per month just for the feeling of being "green" while driving an underperforming car.

RE: Now we're talking
By otispunkmeyer on 2/29/2008 6:57:12 AM , Rating: 2
ooooo i dont think that willl happen

Morgan have just started making a new coupe, i forget its name, but its a limited run and looks somewhat like an awesome bat mobile. its normally aspirated as well and the price.....


Richard Hammond ordered one

that is a scary capacitor
By sdifox on 2/28/2008 5:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
I hope they plan on replacing that cap frequently...

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By MIT70 on 2/28/2008 5:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
Maxwell claims 500,000 cycles for theirs. I've been starting my Lycoming with them for a while. They are great for power / weight or volume ratios. Not so good for energy / weight but that's why the fuel cells are there.

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By Ringold on 2/29/2008 1:26:51 AM , Rating: 2
Lycoming? As in, a Cessna? I didn't know planes had anything like that, interesting

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By AstroCreep on 2/28/2008 6:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not flaming, I simply don't know enough about electronics. If a cap is rated to be as high as they claim (being able to transfer up to 1000 amps at a time) why is it a problem?

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By sdifox on 2/29/2008 12:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
if the caps are charged only on breaking and then discharged when you start again, that is one cycle. Some cap claim 500K cycles. That isn't all that much if you think of it in terms of counting the number of times you break. From the article it sounds like it is in fact being used as a energy tank, servicing the motors all the time. That will kill the cap in a short time.

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By masher2 on 2/29/2008 11:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
Commercial ultracapacitors are doing better than 1 million cycles at present.

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By fredsnotdead on 2/28/2008 6:29:28 PM , Rating: 1
"the vehicle will use ultra capacitors which can transfer as much as 1000 amps back and forth when needed"

This is what makes regenerative braking work efficiently...batteries can't absorb energy quickly enough.

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By BruceLeet on 2/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: that is a scary capacitor
By theapparition on 2/29/2008 8:34:14 AM , Rating: 4
Am I the only one who gets tired of all the lame "1.21 gigawatts" references?

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By Raidin on 2/29/2008 12:16:12 PM , Rating: 2

RE: that is a scary capacitor
By TimberJon on 3/3/2008 5:05:59 PM , Rating: 3
No. Doc said "Jiggawatts" in the movie.

System efficency probably 30-40%
By MadMaster on 2/28/2008 6:43:41 PM , Rating: 2
Hydrogen would be great, if we had an unlimited supply of cheap electricity for electrolysis and fuel cells were cheap.

Assuming they use natural gas to produce the hydrogen (steam reforming, 80% efficient) and the 45% efficient fuel cell. That makes a system efficiency of 36%. About the efficiency of a CNG engine. A CNG engine is much cheaper than hydrogen fuel cells...

Electrolysis is even lower efficiency (probably from 50-70%).

The comparable technology to fuel cells are Battery electric vehicles. They get something like 80% efficiency. They also don't have any expensive components (everything to make a BEV can be obtained for less thank 15k, easy.) Yes, I've heard the range problem. It is not as big of an issue as people claim and it is quickly being solved...

Fuel cells will die out as a crappy technology...

RE: System efficency probably 30-40%
By Fnoob on 2/28/2008 7:33:07 PM , Rating: 3
Electrolysis is even lower efficiency (probably from 50-70%).

Not when generated by next gen Nuke plants... which would make one wonder why we aren't currently building a dozen or so.

RE: System efficency probably 30-40%
By christojojo on 2/28/2008 9:43:33 PM , Rating: 2
If they tried to build one, the "not in my neighborhood" rally cry will be heard.

By MadMaster on 2/29/2008 1:53:28 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, and the extremely annoying radical environmentalists won't let it happen right now. Eventually, they will be ignored (or stoned, damned morons...).

Even so, current fuel cell technology requires extremely expensive materials (platinum). Then there is also the distribution infrastructure (estimates put such an infrastructure in the trillion dollar range) on top of the vehicle costs.

Hydrogen requires jumping through trillion dollar hoops that BEVs (and plug in hybrids) don't require. At the end of the road, it's still a worse technology.

By random git on 2/29/2008 6:45:22 AM , Rating: 1
Your statement is false. The efficiency of electrolysis doesn't depend on what you use to produce the electricity :\

By TimberJon on 3/3/2008 5:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
The Fusion Reactor will get you all your power when it has breached its maximum charge time. They're getting there.

Won't need to be any kind of "rally cry" from ignorant, uneducated individuals because this particular reactor doesnt blow like a nuke, is difficult to blow up anyways, and is build within a facility that contains a possible blast to approximately the inner fence of the grounds. No fallout. Can't wait until they get them up and running. Perhaps all these recent advances in carbon nanotube materials will increase the efficiency of the reactors a bit, cooling-wise.

Who knew?
By Trippytiger on 2/28/2008 5:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
The last thing I expected from a company that still builds cars with wood was a hydrogen fuel cell concept vehicle. It's a strange direction for them to take.

Looks pretty sharp, though. Hopefully some of that styling will find its way into production.

RE: Who knew?
By Samus on 2/28/2008 5:57:12 PM , Rating: 2
Once an engineering powerhouse, always an engineering powerhouse.

What "Hybrid?"
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/29/2008 11:03:00 AM , Rating: 2
Interestingly, the LIFECar concept doesn't make use of lithium-ion batteries as used in most new hybrids.

What is the other power system besides electric that make this a hybrid?

RE: What "Hybrid?"
By s12033722 on 2/29/2008 12:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
I was also wondering why they call this a hybrid. It's not - it's a fuel cell vehicle.

By Raidin on 2/29/2008 12:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
What I'd like to know is, where is the rear window?

RE: ?
By Slash3 on 2/29/2008 1:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
It's so forward-thinking that it's not necessary to glance behind you.

By raphd on 2/28/2008 10:52:17 PM , Rating: 3
this car reminds me of those robotic cylons from battlestar galactica.

And like pcs
By excrucio on 2/28/2008 6:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
They Shall LEAK!

By thornburg on 2/29/2008 9:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
Is it just me, or is there no link to any other information about this Morgan? I see links to other "green" vehicles, but I can't find one that relates to the car in question.

Anyone have one?

By karielash on 2/29/2008 12:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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