The Department of Energy is coming under pressure from a company that wants to build a partially inflatable car.
San Francisco-based startup XP Technology is building a lawsuit against the Department of Energy, charging it with “corruption and negligence” in the way it has handled the approval of applications for loans meant to support the production of fuel-efficient automobiles.
XP has designed a radical concept for a battery and hydrogen fuel-cell powered electric car constructed of a rigid frame. It has body panels made from expanded foam that’s wrapped in a flexible material similar to the air bags used to protect NASA’s Pathfinder probe as it bounced to a safe landing on Mars in 1997.
The company says the compact car would weigh around 1,500 pounds — less than half of similarly sized electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf — making it very energy efficient. Small, removable cartridges would allow owners to quickly swap them for fully charged ones, or carry them into their homes to recharge, eliminating the need to utilize the types of streetside and garage-based charging stations that conventional electric cars rely on.