Le Mans organizers to welcome hydrogen LMP1 cars

I am, admittedly, archaic, old school, backward thinking and just about every other kind of terrible you can think of but at the core of my observation, we (humanity) are much better at creating on-demand energy than we are storing it for later use. It’s not that we can’t store energy, we do, but it just isn’t as efficient as our ability to carry a fuel and create on-demand energy. It’s been my criticism of hybrid and electric cars from day one. Not that they aren’t cool tech and part of our evolution in mobility but that when we decide to build our entire mobility platform on stored energy instead of created energy, it produces a product inferior to the ones we already have and have used for decades.

The charging time is another major issue and battery disposal is a third. It seems to me that we need a new type of fuel instead of a new storage device. Don’t get me wrong, perfecting storage systems is a great errand and much needed too but I am intrigued by the FIA and the Le Mans organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) decision to allow hydrogen in the LMP1 category as AUTOSPORT reveals.

“Hydrogen is clearly a direction we want to follow in the future.

“It has advantages in terms of zero emissions, performance, autonomy [the distance a car can travel on an amount of fuel] and short-loading time.

“This is why we have set up the working group, but we know that the introduction of hydrogen is complex problem to solve.”

There is also an allowance of bio fuels in 2018 as well and the concept here is for biomethane-powered cars.

Whether hydrogen or bio fuels, the technology is fiercely complex and in some of the models I have seen, they are still using batteries to store energy created from hydrogen or other means of energy creation. For me, this defeats the purpose because any time you convert energy, you lose potential energy and that’s usually in the form of heat. Ultimately one would think that the model of the internal combustion engine is, while scoffed and laughed at, one of humanities most incredible inventions. Replacing this century-old technology has proven quite difficult and that’s with today’s best and brightest brains. Surely there will be a way to carry relatively non-volatile fuel and create energy on demand instead of trying to store it and then re-deploy it?

If there is a way, the WEC series LMP1 may be a great proving ground for it.