Fuel cell Suzuki creeps closer to a showroom reality

Tomorrow's World. Today

Suzuki's hydrogen-powered Burgman scooter has become the world's first fuel-cell vehicle – regardless of the number of wheels – to pass European Whole Vehicle Type Approval tests.

Developed in the UK with British firm Intelligent Energy, the fuel cell Burgman has been undergoing trials for the last year, and soon the firm expects to have several of the bikes under test in public. While it's not a production machine, so Suzuki could have used Europe's 'Single Vehicle' type approval to get each test bike road registered, instead the firm has opted for 'Whole Vehicle' approval – effectively homologation that means the test bike and any more that Suzuki build are legal anywhere in Europe. Basically, it's something that's normally only done on mass-produced vehicles.

While other firms have made hydrogen fuel cell cars and bikes – which use hydrogen running though a fuel cell to create electricity without the need for batteries – and Honda even has a car available with the system in America, none have undergone European Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

Of course, the fuel cell Burgman still isn't a production bike, but it's a step closer. Let's just hope that when Suzuki does start churning them out it opts to create a machine that's more inspiring to look at than the Burgman, like the Crosscage concept which used the same mechanicals as the fuel cell Burgman but wrapped in a far more enticing package.

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