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Peugeot Quarck

Broadcast dates : 21st Nov 2004
25th Nov 2004

Peugeot, the giant French automaker, has been doing extensive research into the power source of future vehicles. Namely the fuel cell.

Itís generally accepted that this device, which uses hydrogen and oxygen to create energy, much in the way a conventional battery does, will be the ultimate replacement for the internal combustion engine, as it provides pollution-free power.

The Quark is named after one of the sub-atomic building blocks of the universe. And aptly so, as this is Peugeotís showcase for the miniaturization of fuel-cell technology.

Many people will note that the Quark takes much of its inspiration from the quad cycles so popular now for off-road work. But the Quark is different in many ways.

Firstly it has an electric motor for each wheel. The miniaturized fuel cell provides the electrical power for these engines.

Peugeot styling cues are obvious on the Quark, such as the famous Lion badge and LED head lamps that could have come straight off the rear end of a 307 cc, albeit "quarked" into a smaller format.

The front bodywork or fairing, offers a measure of wind protection, and there are a couple of storage pockets on this strange four-wheeler.

Suspension is by race-oriented wishbones and dampers, and Peugeot says itís possible to incorporate all sorts of driver aids, such as traction control, corner assist and ABS simply by regulating the current to the individual motors on each wheel.

At the rear, the Hydrogen tank is painted red to symbolize its futuristic contents, much like a Star Wars fighter ship.

The ingenuity of the system used by the Quark is that itís portable. The idea is to simply remove the spent tank and freshen up with a new one, the installation taking but seconds. Something all secret agents would appreciate.

This simplifies the refueling process which until now has been a major drawback in hydrogen-fuel-cell projects conducted by manufacturers all over the globe.

Peugeot have gone for high style with many components on this show vehicle.

It has a "personal interface" ignition and owner-recognition system, for instance, instead of a simple key.

The chassis and bodywork use many exotic materials including carbon-fibre, magnesium and aluminium alloys.

It has to look the part to showcase all that future-morph stuff.

How does it go? Well, few people have driven it, or should that be "ridden it".

But according to Peugeot itíll accelerate to fifty kilometres-per-hour in six and a half seconds, it has a top speed of a hundred-and-ten kilometres-per-hour and a range of about a hundred kilometres.

Not exactly warp speed, but enough to get you to the office and back with a clear, emissions-free conscience.

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