Audi Joins The Fuel Cell Club With A7 H-Tron

Posted by: Kenny Chan onNovember 25th, 2014


It seems like more and more automakers are jumping into the whole fuel cell vehicle game, or at least they’re jumping on the “let’s build a proof of concept” bandwagon anyway. Toyota’s FCV-R concept has moved closer to production as the automaker has now given it an actual name calling it the Mirai Fuel Cell vehicle. Audi is the latest one to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, however they are pairing it up with an electric drivetrain to form a plug-in hydrogen hybrid system. With a pair of electric motors delivering 228 horsepower and 400 lb-ft to all four wheels, giving the A7 H-Tron the Quattro all-wheel-drive moniker, a rarity for fuel cell vehicles. The H-tron can temporarily boost the voltage to the electrical motors bumping out power delivery to 305 horsepower.

“The A7 Sportback h-tron quattro is a genuine Audi – at once sporty and efficient. Conceived as an e-quattro, its two electric motors drive all four wheels,” explained Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi. “The h-tron concept car shows that we have mastered fuel cell technology. We are in a position to launch the production process as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready.”

Utilizing four carbon fiber reinforced polymer encased aluminum cylindrical tanks to store 5KG of compressed hydrogen gas (H2) at over 10,000 PSI, the H-tron has a range of over 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds up to a top speed of 180 km/h. Being a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the H-tron does all this while emitting absolutely no emissions. The only byproduct of the fuel cell is water. In fact if you notice in our picture gallery, the H-tron doesn’t even have any exhaust tips out back. If you run out of H2, the battery can provide up to 50 km/h of all-electric range. One of the biggest drawbacks of electric vehicles is the recharging time, but on the H-tron the battery reaches full charge from 2 hours on a commercial 360V electrical circuit up to 4 hours on a residential 240V system. Filling the H2 tanks takes about 3 minutes.

No word yet on when or if the A7 H-tron will enter production or whether or not it will get a unique body styling or front fascia to help feed air into the oxygen hungry fuel cell system. The A7 H-tron here in Los Angeles looks just like any other A7, you wouldn’t know it has a fuel cell under the hood if you didn’t see the giant H-tron decal down the side.

With Toyota investing in H2 infrastructure, Audi building the H-Tron and Honda set to announce their own Fuel Cell Vehicle (it’s been delayed until Detroit in January) it looks like H2 vehicles may soon become a reality on our roads.

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