The Tesla Model S is probably the most known electric vehicle on the market. It is known for its huge range where the P100D model can cover 506 km on a single charge. Some people want to go even farther than that and don’t want to stop at a charging station before continuing their journey. Hesla is just the thing for them.
A gas supplier in the Netherlands called Holthausen Group managed to almost double the mileage of the Tesla Model S by adding a hydrogen power source. This makes them the first company in the world to make an electric- and hydrogen-powered Tesla. Combining hydrogen with Tesla gave rise to the name of their project, Hesla.
The Model S was acquired second hand as Tesla was not involved in the process itself. Max Holthausen an engineer for the gas supplying company called the vehicle’s system “a big maze” and claimed that it was extremely difficult to get the Model S to accept the hydrogen power source. They had to develop and implement a workaround which led to an increment in the difficulty of the project.
The team did figure it out in the end and now the Hesla successfully utilizes two power sources. The stock battery is still used and the hydrogen stored in the tank is used as a secondary source of power. The hydrogen molecules are pumped into a fuel cell. They have their electrons removed at the anode and are converted into ions. These electrons pass to the battery giving it extra charge. The ions then pass to the cathode where they are united with electrons and react with oxygen to produce water and exit the fuel cell. This resulted in an increase from P100D’s range of 506 km to 1,000 km, which is almost double the distance.
There are still a few drawbacks that might hinder the production of such vehicles on a large scale. First of all is the cost. Adding the new system costs $58,000. Secondly, the fuelling stations for hydrogen are not as abundant in number as the charging stations and there only 39 such stations in the US where you can replenish the depleted hydrogen.
Holthausen’s Hesla is the first of its kind and we might see it pique the interest of other parties and once the process is perfected, we might even see mass production of such vehicles.