Bluebird™ Ecostar  Bluebird EV service stations





TOMCAT DC50 electric city sports car concept with Bluebird instant recharging


NEW for 2014 - The TOMCAT Ecostar BE4 (bare frame) DC50 city sports car concept featuring the Bluebird™ instant recharging system that is the enabling  bridge between battery electric vehicles of today and the hydrogen fuel cell EVs of the future - Hydrogen Economy (HE) Ready. You wouldn't buy a TV that was not HD and 3D ready, so why buy a car that is not HE ready. Future proofed EV technology from Bluebird Marine System Ltd. Expressions of interest for collaborative consortium building are invited - aiming for a Horizon 2020 bid from 2015 >>.



It's something to think about when giant corporations point out basic environmental truths.  Scott Foster, a General Motors spokesperson on advanced technology vehicles, points out that the 70 million cars on American roads could double to 140 million by 2025.  These cars would also double the number of miles traveled.  So if we're dependent on hybrid technology as our green savior, we'd need every hybrid to be 62 percent more efficient than the best hybrid today just to stay where we are now with fuel economy.  GM says it's working on the problem and says be patient.

In New York last week at the Tribeca Film Festival GM unveiled a 75-kilowatt fuel cell powering an outdoor screen ("the GM Drive-in"). GM's VP Larry Burns said, "Fuel cells will be commercially viable when the cost of the technology gets to a point that allows the vehicle to be affordable and the auto companies profitable."  That is fairly obvious.  

The problem is that skeptics like Joe Romm (author of The Hype About Hydrogen) don't expect fuel-cell cars to arrive until 2030.  But Burns, whose company has been taking out giant, two-page newspaper spreads touting the new energy, says "We've been saying and still strongly believe that will happen by 2010." If GM can field a fuel-cell car by 2010, it would certainly silence the critics.  "We realize we're the most aggressive company talking about that kind of time frame," Foster told me. "We're very excited about the progress we've made on cost and power density, considering that these cars are still handbuilt by Ph.Ds. We have 500 engineers working on fuel cells, 200 of them near Rochester. So we think 2010 is a reasonable target for commercial viability."

GM expects that fuel-cell cars will carry hydrogen gas, which will be reformed from gasoline or natural gas at the filling-station level. The company is also working on solar and wind-generated hydrogen, though it admits that's further in the future.  Burns is fond of saying, "Anywhere there is natural gas, electricity or water, there is hydrogen." It is indeed the most abundant element in the universe, but the problem (as Romm's book makes abundantly clear) is separating the hydrogen from its host. The processes are energy-intensive and, unless renewable power is involved, polluting. There are serious obstacles there. Still, the alternatives are pretty horrific - notice all the new books with titles like "The End of Oil?"--and you have to be hopeful once in a while.


General Motors fuel cell concept cars

GM is also finally delivering its first hybrid vehicles, following Ford's splash with the hybrid Escape in New York last month. The company delivered the first V-8-powered hybrid Silverado pickup to Dade County, Florida May 3. Though the fuel-economy improvement is minor - only 10 to 12 percent - it would add up if it were applied to the hundreds of thousands of pickups GM sells annually. Unfortunately, Dade County's fleet only includes 50 trucks, and GM isn't planning to sell more than a few thousand in 2005.

According to John Gaydash, a GM fleet spokesperson, the hybrid technology will add $2,500 to the price of the truck. It might take quite a while with that limited fuel improvement to recoup the investment. Of perhaps larger fuel savings is the new displacement-on-demand (DOD) technology, which shuts down banks of cylinders in Chevy Vortec V-8 engines (for an eight percent improvement) when the extra power isn't needed. GM plans to make that technology standard in such vehicles as the Trailblazer EXT, Envoy XL and XUV in 2005. Since every buyer will get DOD, it should have a real-world effect.

Nelson, says: "As a lad, I admired most of the concept vehicles produced by General Motors at shows and in print.  Way back in 1992 GM expressed an interest in my Joystick patent, but this was not pursued.  I'm pleased to say they are continuing to produce great designs and to push forward the frontiers of automotive technology."


Overview  Facts  How fuel cells work  Challenges  Glossary  Milestones  Stationary Fuel Cells






  1. To settle a Universal battery cartridge format which will be suitable for most production cars (with a suitably modified floorpan), based on (derived from) the existing battery cartridge exchange system.

  2. To design and build a battery cartridge exchange forecourt that is compatible with 1. above.

  3. To convert an existing road car to incorporate the battery cartridge exchange system to be able to demonstrate the prototype Ecostar SS.  

  4. To incorporate solar panels on the roofs of the Ecostar SS to capture a small percentage of energy directly from nature.

  5. To include in the design (for future use/locations) wind turbine structural locations.

  6. Other transitional hybrid arrangements are described in the designer’s patent GB 2253379. If motor manufacturers might be persuaded to explore the commercial applications of a unified (universally accepted) battery cartridge for their exchange systems.

  7. Hybrid vehicles may offer the technology-gap transition from petrol, to hybrid, to pure battery exchange vehicle.

  8. The logical future development of the prototype Ecostar SS is to pilot test automatic battery cartridge dispensing equipment, or service stations as a showcase for the energy industry.


RANGE ANXIETY - The blend of technology outlined above promises an innovative energy efficient vehicle and support infrastructure necessary that fulfills the aspirations of the Canadian authorities and member states of the European Union.


CLEAN MOTORING - Electric vehicles incorporating a means of instant refuelling could make road transport clean and practical by eliminating the limited ranges of fixed battery EVs, which are perceived as less practical by the at present long parked-up recharge times.


BATTERY CARTRIDGE CHARGING - The battery cartridge charging stations shall comply with the EU legislation and international standards, such as IEC 61000. Alternatively, battery cartridges may be recharged via a charger of the onboard type in any country within the EU and US. For road cars, a smart-card Pay As You Drive (PAYD) system may be developed for forecourt style commercial battery cartridge exchanges.













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The instant pit stop recharging system: Bluebird FE™ Formula E refueling. 



Whatever fuel powers our vehicle in the future, UK drivers will still need competitive insurance - Try Hastings Direct and see how much you could save. 


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