Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Audi H7 H-tron

Audi hads a fantastic new prototype on the Los Angeles Auto show: the A7 H-tron. The H-tron is Audi's vision for the future of hydrogen. And it shows that Audi has a much better vision of what it can sell to its customers than its competitors Hyundai and Toyota who are now leading the actual sale of hydrogen vehicles. Those cars are attempts to just about offer the same as the average family car. Only they cost a lot more. Audi shows they can do a lot better.
The novelty in Audi's design is not the fuel cell powering the car: their fuel cell offers roughly 100 kWe: the same as every body else's fuel cell. But Audi uses this power much more effectively by storing energy into a 8,8 kWh battery system. This allows the vehicle to accellerate much faster and regenerate braking energy. The H-tron is designed as a plug-in hybrid, allowing the battery to be charged from the power grid, making the vehicle less dependent on the lacking hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
Because the fuel cell is the most expensive component in the vehicle, Audi can offer much better performance at only marginally higher cost. The performance speaks for itself:
- 50 km range on batteries, 500 km total
- four wheel drive
- 152 hp power from the electromotors
- 0 - 100 km/h in 7.9 s
- no emissions, little noise
It looks to me like Toyota and Hyundai can go back to their drawing boards.