Electric-hydrogen car to enter Le Mans 24-hour race in 2012

The GreenGT LMP H2, a hydrogen-electric car, has officially been invited by the organisers of Le Mans to take part in the 2012 endurance race.

Automobiles

A hydrogen-electric car has been invited by the organisers of Le Mans to take part in the 2012 endurance race, according to Autocar.

If successful, the the GreenGT LMP H2 will be the first electric vehicle to compete against petrol, diesel and hybrid-powered vehicles in the iconic 24-hour-long competition.

The bonkers-looking electric car is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that's constantly recharged by a hydrogen fuel cell generating emissions-free electricity on the fly. Its total range is as yet unconfirmed, but given the amount of fuel it'll store, we'd expect it to be comparable to that of its fossil fuel-burning rivals.

The prototype is said to store a whopping 12kg of hydrogen compressed at 10,153psi. For reference, the road-going Honda FCX Clarity stores 4.1kg of the gas at 5,000psi and is capable of 60 miles per kilogram of hydrogen.

The LMP H2 should acquit itself pretty well around the iconic Le Mans circuit. The car will use two 150kW (201.2bhp) electric motors, which are powerful enough to propel it from a standstill to 60mph in less than four seconds and on to a top speed of around 171mph.

That's not quite in the same league as the current crop of petrol- and diesel-powered Le Mans cars, which can reach in excess of 200mph, but it's certainly quicker than your auntie's G-Wiz.

The LMP H2 should be especially brisk through corners, thanks to Pagani Huayra-style driver-adjustable flaps that deploy mid-turn to increase downforce, and a KERS-style power boost system that deploys energy harvested via the car's regenerative brakes.

GreenGT reckons the LMP H2 should be ready to race in time for next year's Le Mans 24-hour race and says it has has already received an invitation from the Automobile Club de L'Ouest (ACO) to take part.

We're keeping our fingers crossed the project goes according to plan, as we'd love to seen a hydrogen-electric car mixing it with the fossil-fuelled big boys. While we wait, let's all have a gander at the LMP H2 in the video below.

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