A set of the world’s first hydrogen powered three-wheeler vehicles was recently unveiled at the Auto Expo 2012 held in New Delhi. Named ‘HyAlfa’, the seven vehicles are part of a group of fifteen vehicles manufactured under the project De1Hy 3W. The project is launched by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)’s International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (UNIDO-ICHET). It has been done in association with Mahindra & Mahindra and IIT-Delhi, and is supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It took three years and about $1million to produce the vehicles. The vehicles will be used by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) on an experimental basis at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi where a hydrogen refuelling station has been set up.
HyAlfa gives a mileage of 80km per litre and is a zero-emission vehicle, but more tests and fine-tuning of the vehicles need to be done to assess the commercial viability of the vehicle. A point of concern is the high cost of the hydrogen fuel which is currently pegged at
र250 per kg. A HyAlfa is expected to cost about र25,000 more than a three-wheeler running on CNG.