Karma Automotive seeks to make self-fuelling hydrogen-powered cars

Karma Automotive seeks to make self-fuelling hydrogen-powered cars

February 5, 2021 5 By Bret Williams

It aims to test vehicles it will build with a powertrain that will run on the H2 it produces itself.

Karma Automotive, a luxury electric vehicle company, is working on the early stages of a powertrain for hydrogen powered cars that would produce their own fuel.

The technology is not yet complete, but the company expects to start testing it this year.

Until now, the company’s primary focus has been the development of plug-in hybrid and electric cars. This has been its purpose since it rose from what was left of Fisker in 2014. The company still intends to release a new electric sedan it has called the GSe-6. That said, it is now looking beyond electric options and is in the early phases of building a powertrain for hydrogen cars that would produce their own H2 as a fuel.

To accomplish this goal, Karma Automotive is working with Blue World Technologies from Denmark. The entire system is built around a methanol fuel cell. It can be refilled as fast as a gasoline powered vehicle. From fueling, the chemical is sent through a methanol reformer, which converts it into hydrogen. The H2 is used for generating the electricity that moves the vehicle.

Both companies identified methanol as the H2 carrier for the hydrogen powered cars.

That said, neither company immediately identified what the byproducts of their hydrogen production process would be.

Other automakers involved in making H2 powered cars include Toyota, Hyundai and BMW. They have all poured millions into hydrogen fuel cell vehicle investments. That said, each of those companies has chosen not to work with methanol.

Karma Automotive stated that it decided to use methanol and produce the H2 within the vehicle because methanol – also known as wood alcohol – is already widely traded globally. Moreover, many countries can store and distribute that substance using their existing infrastructures. Furthermore, it can be produced using renewable sources.

The Irving, California-based automaker and Blue World Technologies intend to install the methanol-Hydrogen powered cars - Karma Vehiclepowered drivetrain into a fleet of their GSe-6 sedans to create hydrogen powered cars before the close of this year. They will test these vehicles in both the US and Denmark.