Reva and Genepax.
In 2008, a Japanese company called Genepax modified an Reva electric vehicle manufactured by the Indian Reva company and claimed it ran on water !.
The Reva Electric town car.
This EV made it's debut at the Brussels auto show and immediately attracted a lot of interest because their are relatively few electric vehicles on the roads of Europe. The current thinking is that the future is electric, as there are too many problems concerning using Hydrogen as a fuel, which have to be solved before a hydrogen infrastructure can be created. The electric vehicle, on the other hand is an established technology, with a history stretching back to the late 1800's. At one stage there were far more electric vehicles on the roads of UK that those driven by an internal combustion engine !. So at the peak of fears about climate change and pollution, it was very appropriate, for a new small electric car to appear on the market. It was doubly so, because it was of Indian manufacture and they have a reputation for producing small vehicles at prices well below what European manufactures could meet. OK let's have a look at the REVA .....
If you want to see the full specification for the car, virtual brochures are available on line from Reva's website, but here are some details that are relevant to the subsequent hydrogen modification by Genepax.
|Curb weight||700 kg|
|Turn radius||3.5 metres|
|Top speed||80 km/h|
|Seating||Two adults + two children.|
|Motor||Hi torque 52 nM AC induction motor, 3 phase 13kW peak|
|Battery pack||48 volts, 200 amp, EV lead acid batteries|
|Charger||220 volts AC supply. 2.2 kW Hi frequency switch mode.|
|Full charge time||8 hours.|
In short it is an ideal 'town car' large enough to go shopping, taking the kids to school, travelling to work etc. I like it and I want to buy one. The only problem I see, is that by the time it gets to the UK market, greedy distributors will probably negate all of it's advantages by putting a ridiculous price tag on it. For example my micro truck sell's at £800 in the Madras showroom, but £4,500 here !.
The Genepax modification of the Reva.
First take a look at two Genepax websites .....
Their main claim appears to have been that they have developed a means of converting water directly into DC electricity using what they call a "Membrane electrode assembly (MEA)". They then appear to suggest that this current could be used to charge the Reva vehicles normal batteries. Journalist license and a lack of positive information from Genepax ..... has turned this into a car run only on water !.
Genepax claimed that the MEA they used was rated at 120 watts, which is clearly not enough to run the Reva's 13000 watt motor. Also note that the Reva's charger is rated at 2200 watts, which means that the Genepax MEA could not even recharge the Reva's batteries in 8 hours and would require closer to a two week recharge time. Even if Genepax produced a 1000 watt version it would still require about a 16 hour charge time.
At .... http://www.revaindia.com/electricitygallery.htm# , some information is available and I noted the use of the following sentence. "Electric power is generated under normal temperature by supplying pure water 5 to the fuel electrode 3 and air to the oxygen electrode 4.". There is no mention that the 'fuel electrode' is consumed during the process.
It is difficult to establish at this point, where this is supposed to lead. It appears to fail as an 'on demand' source capable of driving the Reva, or even giving it's batteries a full charge. A demonstration showing a REVA driving around proves nothing, since that is what it is designed to do anyway. Now if they removed the Reva's batteries before the demonstration, that would have been a different matter !.
A cyclist generating an output of 100 watts (0.13 HP) on a level road, no wind, can travel at 30 kilo-metres per hour (about 20 mph). On an 8% slope he can travel at 10 kilo-metres per hour(about 6.5 mph). Of course if he was maintaining a constant power output he would have to use a lower gear to give the increased torque required to get up the slope. The law allows a 200 watt electric motor to be used to propel the same cycle. In practice the 120 watt MEA would not produce enough power to propel a pedal cycle continuously, let alone a 700 kg vehicle carrying two adults + two children at 50 mph. .
It will be interesting to see how this resolves itself !.