By: Earnest Jones | 11-08-2017 | News
Photo credit: Tesla |

Dutch Company Hacks a Tesla to Produce Long-Range Hydrogen-Powered 'Hesla'

Automotive enthusiasts are already enthused by the so-called Hesla, which is hacked version of the Tesla Model S. Surprisingly, this model runs on hydrogen after Netherlands gas supplier Holthausen Group hacked it to run on a combination of hydrogen and electricity.

The vehicle covers more than twice the distance covered by the cheapest Model S, this is after combination with the "Project Hesla" components, totaling a distance of 1,000 km (620 miles).

Automotive fanatics can attest to the fact that Tesla Model S is one of the most renowned electric vehicles on the market. The 75D, which is the cheapest model can cover an impressive range of 416 km (259 miles), while the 100D and P100D have ranges of 539 km (335 miles) and 506 km (315 miles), respectively.

Car enthusiasts who intend to push the limits of their Model S have a viable solution, for instance, if you wanted to drive an extra 500-600 km without charging your vehicle at one of Tesla's supercharger stations, all it would take is a little hydrogen to push the limits.

The Drive reported that a gas supplier in the Netherlands called Holthausen Group managed to boost the maximum range of Tesla's Model S by essentially hacking in a hydrogen power source. Holthausen success at making an electric- and hydrogen-powered Tesla makes them the first in the world to do so.

The company went ahead and named the car: Project Hesla. However, Tesla wasn’t involved in the process and hence the Model S was acquired second-hand. One of the engineers, Max Holthausen, who works with the company professed that getting the Model S to accept hydrogen as a fuel source wasn't an easy task.

The team of engineers had to develop and implement a workaround, which made the project more challenging. However, in the long-run, they managed to hack the project, the Hesla model utilizes two sources of power. The vehicle has an installed battery and hydrogen tanks to facilitate the power sources.

This might sound like rocket science but it’s not, hydrogen molecules are pumped into a fuel cell, where an anode removes their electrons, which pass through a circuit to the battery to give it additional charge. Hydrogen in ion form passes into a cathode, where they are reunited with electrons, and bind with oxygen to form water, i.e., H2O, and exit the fuel cell.

Research shows that hydrogen has the potential to become a mass-produced alternative to gasoline and even electricity thanks to seawater and a specific aluminum alloy. The Drive revealed that the hydrogen conversion costs upwards of US$58,000 dollars - appended on top of the US$79,500 Model S price.

Replenishing the hydrogen supply is not as convenient as recharging an electric car. Mind you, there are only 39 hydrogen fuelling stations in the US, most are located on the West Coast, specifically California. Four are in South Carolina (2 stations), Connecticut (1), and Massachusetts (1).

Toyota has a hydrogen-powered truck, Mercedes Benz debuted its hydrogen-fueled SUV in September while Honda is releasing hydrogen cars. These automakers have pioneered the fully-functional hydrogen vehicles on the road. However, Holthausen and the Hesla are prompting other companies to step-up their efforts in this niche.


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