The majority of hydrogen related hybrid vehicles in development use fuel-cells, which work like a battery to run supplementary electric motors. In other words, fuel cell cars are electric or electric-gasoline hybrids. The Scorpion takes an alternative approach by using an internal combustion engine configured to burn a combination of gasoline and hydrogen. The technology is not new, and as there is no carbon in hydrogen, the model offers a reduction in both CO2 and NOx emissions along with a significant fuel efficiency boost (between 30 and 50% over comparable gasoline engines according to Ronn).
The problem with hydrogen combustion is not producing the hydrogen, which is achieved through electrolysis or fracturing water molecules, but the storage and control of the gas. The Scorpion uses an on-board production system developed by Hydrorunner to overcome these issues. This hydrogen on demand system uses dual computer processor controls to produce hydrogen and induct it through the air intake manifold as required, meaning there is no need for high pressure storage tanks or hydrogen fueling stations, just a small on board water tank. Hydrorunner's patent pending system also incorporates a multi-level safety system that includes a manual override and automatic shut off mechanism that activates in the event that too much heat or pressure builds in the system.
The Scorpion will feature a hand built carbon fiberCarbon fiber body over a chrome-moly chassis powered by an AcuraAcura V-Tech, V-6, Type S, 3.5 Liter power-plant with a close ratio six-speed transmission. Highway fuel economy is predicted to be in the 40 mpg range but there will be plenty of power when required - estimated at 289 horse in stock form but with a twin turbo option producing 450 hp. Other design highlight include LamborghiniLamborghini style doors, carbon fiber center console and steering wheel, paddle shift, Bose audio system and on-board GPS guidance system. For further specs check out the Ronn Motors site.
“What we are revealing today is an innovation in the automotive industry and demonstrates American ingenuity at a time of real need,“ says Ronn Motor Company’s Chief Executive Officer Ronn Maxwell. “We’re designing and building cars with performance components and unique styling with the objective of making the new environmentally friendly vehicle stand out with never before seen style and approximately 40 mpg plus efficiency,” he adds.
The company says it will accept advanced orders for its initial limited run with exact production numbers and pricing to be announced "early summer of 2008" ahead of the car's release later in the year.