In the 1990s, methanol was seen as a possible new source of power for fuel cell electric vehicles. And yet, at the turn of the century, it nearly fell out of favor altogether, as the equipment needed to burn the fuel was much more complex than systems that used hydrogen only. Still, the past few years have seen renewed efforts to bring methanol fuel cells to market. Some weeks ago, Roland Gumpert, the engineer who spearheaded the development of Audi Quattro’s four-wheel drive, was back in the news, talking about his latest project, a sports car named after his daughter Nathalie (see H2-international, April 2019).
On March 5, at the Geneva International Motor Show, Roland Gumpert showed attendees his Nathalie Race, an electric sportscar named after his daughter. The distinctive feature of the coupe, unveiled in spring 2018, is the engine under the hood: Gumpert, who designed Audi Quattro’s four-wheel drive, said it had been important to him “to build an electric car that doesn’t grind to a halt because the battery is drained but generates electricity during the ride. To achieve this, we used a fuel cell that produces hydrogen from a methanol-water blend.” The fuel cell was made by Serenergy, based in Denmark.