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Hydrogen fuel cell cars the way of the future

After the recent 2008 Geneva Salon International de l'Auto car convention, held between the 6th and 16th of March in Geneva, Switzerland, any self-respecting car enthusiast's first concern would likely be to find out the latest news from the motoring world. Among the most interesting cars unveiled at the auto show was Italian car manufacturer Pininfarina's new concept car, the Sintesi - Italian for synthesis - and designed to explore ideas and solutions for the cars of the future. Using man's freedom over technology as a concept, the car was designed with a view towards a future where cars can disseminate intelligence from cross-media sources regarding traffic and security to create a continuous, transparent dialogue between the city, the road and vehicles without limiting the motorist's autonomy. From the outside the Sintesi is a sleek sports car, but its aerodynamic exterior belies a unique design concept ? rather than designing the car around its mechanics, the car and mechanics have been designed around the passenger space. The approach, known as "Liquid packaging", has overturned the car's volumetric balances, improving weight distribution and lowering the centre of gravity - giving the driver more physical space without compromising key dynamics which are essential for driving.

The car uses four modular hydrogen fuel cells - known as the Quadrivium Fuel Cells system - positioned near the wheels, with each providing 20kw of power per wheel; as well as an electric motor, with additional battery charge provided by solar panels and regenerative braking. Thanks to its sophisticated electronic architecture, the car makes modular use of the available power depending on driving conditions. Inside, the translucent dashboard displays the flow of information received and processed in real-time, lighting up when matters requiring the driver's attention occur. The car's headlights also play a part, using tele-cameras and a proximity radar system to ease the processing of information. Though the concept of cars such as the Sinesti dominating the roads might seem like a far-fetched science fiction scenario, the concept is built on technologies already available, and could in theory create safer and better flow of traffic in the near future.

The Sinesti received much coverage in motoring news publications, both offline and online, prior to its unveiling in Geneva thanks to a teaser campaign website that received over 250,000 hits since it was launched in December. Car enthusiasts wishing to find out additional information about the Sinesti and other motoring news are currently spoilt for choice, with dedicated websites, forums and RSS feeds ensuring that information regarding the motoring world is only a click away. .

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.

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