The Fuel Cell Quadracycle (FCQ)
Our Rhoades Car Quadracycle was a four passenger model with a 750 watt, 24 volt electric motor and controller drive system designed to operate with two deep cycle 12 volt batteries wired in series to get the necessary 24 volts.
The FCQ is able to cruise at 12+ mph with two people with an estimated range of 20 miles on fuel cell power alone and 40 miles as a fuel cell/battery hybrid. While essentially a four-wheeled bicycle with limited power and range, the FCQ was able to earn recognition as Rhode Island’s first fuel cell-powered vehicle. It is also fun to point out that Henry Ford’s first vehicle was also a modest Quadracycle that he built in 1896.
While the FCQ is capable of the distance, the limited 12 mph speed of the vehicle might tend to be an annoyance to other motorists and obstructing traffic is probably not the best means of promoting fuel cells. Plans to upgrade the FCQ were considered, but even with upgrades it is still essentially a four-wheeled bicycle with limited performance. The FCQ served as an excellent lesson for the students and the primary goals were achieved. It was time to consider moving ahead with another, more ambitious vehicle project.
For our next fuel cell vehicle project our goal was the creation of a full-size, street legal, fuel cell vehicle capable of cruising at the speed of normal traffic. The same student who came up with the idea of using the Rhoades Car platform for the FCQ, suggested using a Ford Model T “T-bucket” style vehicle for our fuel cell project. Further research revealed that a Model T style vehicle was a great platform for many reasons. You can read more about the Fuel Cell Model T by clicking on the link on the menu bar.