Audi to focus on hydrogen again

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Audi will once again focus on its h-tron hydrogen fuel cell program. The German carmaker is drawing renewed attention to hydrogen after concerns about the availability of sufficient raw materials for batteries for electric vehicles.

The intention is for the Volkswagen Group to make Audi’s h-tron program the most important hydrogen fuel cell program within the group. “We want to give more priority to hydrogen fuel cells, with more money, more capacity and more self-confidence,” Audi chairman Bram Schot told Autocar.

Audi announced its h-tron concept in 2016. The manufacturer claimed at the time that the concept car had a range of 600 kilometers and could be fully refueled in four minutes. The concept car contains a 100 kW lithium-ion battery, a heat pump and a roof with solar panels for 320 watts. Power from the fuel cell and battery goes to two electric motors, one of 90kW and one of 140kW. The torque is 550Nm. The concept car can go from 0 to 100 km/h in seven seconds. The top speed is 200 km/h.

According to Schot, Audi will unveil a new hydrogen fuel cell system later this year and a limited edition Audi FCEV could become available as a lease model in 2021. FCEV stands for fuel cell electric vehicle. Audi is working together with Hyundai, which is already strongly focused on hydrogen cells.

The Audi CEO cites the scarcity of materials for battery production as a concern for the development of electric cars. In order to enable more efficient electric driving and a greater range, the industry should continue to explore alternatives. “And then you come to hydrogen fuel cells.”

You can read more about hydrogen as an alternative or supplement to electric driving in the background article The great promise of hydrogen.

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