Audi H-Tron Quattro – Fuel-cell SUV revealed in Detroit

H-Tron badge gives a clue as to SUV concept's powertrain

Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrid Tiguan concept, subsidiary Audi has revealed its own take on the future of all-wheel drive motoring with the H-Tron Quattro Concept, revealed at the Detroit auto show.

If you’re familiar with Audi’s naming conventions, in which E-Tron refers to electric power, then you can probably guess what the H means – the concept is primarily powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

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Furthermore, Audi is claiming ‘zero global emissions’ – referencing the fact that electric vehicles drawing their electricity from power plants do have an emissions footprint. The hydrogen that powers Audi’s concept, by way of contrast, is created using wind-powered electrolysis at an e-gas facility in Germany.

While we’d like to have seen such technology in a more dynamic vehicle than yet another SUV, the H-Tron Quattro is similarly brisk to the VW concept revealed earlier today.

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Its electric powertrain – with a 121bhp motor up front and 188bhp at the back – develops 405.7lb ft in total, hauling the H-Tron to 62mph in under seven seconds. Top speed is limited to 124mph.

An auxiliary battery, mounted beneath the passenger compartment and tipping the scales at 60kg, is able to supply 100kW of energy in an instant, giving the drivetrain the energy it needs when accelerating hard.

Additionally, Audi has equipped the roof with a large solar element. It’s not enough to power the car on its own, but Audi suggests the 320 watts it generates would add up to 620 miles annually.

Power consumption is a little hard to quantify – few people have experience filling a car with hydrogen – but Audi quotes usage of around 1kg of hydrogen every 100km, or 62.1 miles. Overall range is 372 miles, and a full fill takes around four minutes – attractive when electric equivalents take at least half an hour to quick-charge to 80 per cent.

In terms of its cabin, Audi has implemented many of the features it revealed a week ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – OLED touch-sensitive displays, and touch-sensitive elements on the steering wheel too. Another CES feature finding its way into the H-Tron is gesture control.

Stylistically, it’s very much a contemporary Audi – a large grille, sharply-styled headlights, and a pronounced shoulder line that works its way from the trailing edge of the headlights to the rear of the car. And this one’s yellow, with some imposing alloy wheels for good measure.

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No production model has yet been confirmed, but as more manufacturers produce road-going fuel cell cars – Honda, Hyundai and Toyota have all joined the party in recent years – it’s unlikely to be long before Audi’s H-Tron badge graces production vehicles.

You can keep up-to-date on all the news from the Detroit auto show on our full hub page.

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