BAC plots hydrogen powertrain for Mono

A Mono FCEV? Hopefully that's the sort of future-proofing we can all get onboard with…

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, January 26, 2022 / Loading comments

BAC has today confirmed a partnership with hydrogen powertrain engineers Viritech, with the aim of introducing a fuel cell electric vehicle powertrain to the single-seat Mono. The deal has come about thanks to Viritech’s successful bid for a Niche Vehicle Network Feasibility Study Grant, funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. The money will be used to support a study into “developing a hydrogen powertrain for niche vehicle applications.” Which, of course, is right up BAC’s street, hence the tie-up.

The experimental powertrain will use a Mono as its base. That obviously works nicely for Viritech (because there’s no sports car quite so niche as the single-seater one) and benefits BAC also, which plans to be a zero emissions company by 2030. We’re told to expect a familiar experience: “The resulting Mono FCEV continues to be led by BAC’s principles of uncompromising performance and driver experience”, reads the press release.

Quite how a fuel cell powertrain will be incorporated into a 600kg track car which retains the visceral experience of the petrol-powered version isn’t quite clear yet, but then that’s what the study is designed to establish. A heavy Mono wouldn’t really be a Mono. Neither would a quiet one, come to think of it.

Neill Briggs, BAC Co-Founder and Director of Product Development, said: “We are delighted to be working with Viritech and their ground-breaking approach to FCEV. Technology has always been at the forefront of our development, and we remain committed to exploring new automotive innovations within all that we do. Alternative fuels, along with lightweight construction methods, reduces vehicle emissions considerably without compromising driver engagement, something we are committed to preserving at BAC.”

Certainly it’s interesting times ahead for the lightweight British sports car industry. Alongside the hydrogen BAC project is Elemental’s battery powered RP1; Lotus won’t make a combustion-engined car after the Emira and Caterham – having just dropped a couple of Ford-engined models from its range – can’t have many years left with natural aspiration.

Obviously some of that is regrettable – but the UK doesn’t have a reputation as the home of innovative, lightweight sports cars for no reason. If anywhere is going to make a fair fist of low-emission fun on four wheels, it’s right here. On the other hand, if the very notion of a fuel cell Mono seems like sacrilege to you, here’s one for sale – it has a 2.5-litre Duratec, makes 309hp at 8,000rpm, and revs to 9,000rpm. Just don’t expect it to be less than £160k any time soon…

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