If hydrogen fuel cell vehicles hope to stand any chance against the likes of the Tesla Model S, they’ll have to deliver a spirited driving experience that can rival the powerful electric sedan. The Audi A7 h-tron quattro concept may just be a technology demonstrator, but it gives hydrogen fuel cell fans a sporty and concept car to lust after.
The Audi A7 h-tron quattro can go from 0 to 62 MPH in about 7.9 seconds, which isn’t record setting but is fast-enough for most drivers. A pair of electric motors mounted on both axles for that patented Audi quattro AWD offers about 85 kW, or 113 horsepower of continuous output, with a maximum output of 114 kW/152 horsepower. The Toyota Mirai in comparison offers a maximum output of just 100 kW/134 horsepower and is a full second slower to 60 MPH.
The four hydrogen fuel tanks provide enough driving range for about 310 miles of forward movement, and there’s also a 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack from the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid on-board, allowing for an additional 20 or so miles of pure electric driving. Yes, this is a plug-in hydrogen hybrid, and it emits nothing but water vapor from its tailpipe.
Of course just where that hydrogen fuel is derived from directly impacts the carbon footprint of cars like the A7 h-tron. That said, I find Audi’s take on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles far more appealing than the wide-mouthed Toyota Mirai. If Tesla has proved anything about alternative fuel vehicles, it’s that they don’t have to look different to be successful.
The Audi A7 h-tron looks like every other car in the Audi lineup, and in this case that’s a good thing.