Audi Doubts Electric Vehicles, Reignites Hydrogen Cell Program

Audi chairman Bram Schot announced publicly that the company will ramp up their hydrogen fuel cell program. Audi has doubts about resource availability for battery production and the marked increase in customer expectations when it comes to electric cars.

These doubts led the car maker to re-open the h-tron program and will place hydrogen fuel cell technology as the keystone of the Volkswagen Group.

Audi confirmed a new 6th gen hydrogen fuel cell vehicle prototype will be available for public display sometime this year. They also said that a small number of such production vehicles could be part of a lease program as early as 2021. At the moment these vehicles would come from the Neckarsulm, Germany plant where the A6, A7 and A8 are currently produced.

This new fuel cell tech was born from a cross-license agreement with Hyundai. This car maker already sells the FCEV called Nexo SUV.

Hyundai Still Hot for Hydrogen

According to Car and Driver blog writer Clifford Atiyeh Korean automaker Hyundai are still chasing hot on the trail of hydrogen vehicles. Hyundai has just revealed a preview of a completely new, fuel cell powered SUV. This new model, yet to be named, will replace the few, silent Tucson fuel-cell vehicles quietly zipping around Southern California.

The old generation Hyundai fuel cell would take a Tucson about 265 miles (two tanks). The new version, employing three tanks with a range “so ridiculous we won’t even cite it.” Horsepower gets increased to 161 (that’s +27HP) boosting fuel efficiency by 60%. The new design will also allow cold starts down to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hyundai hasn’t confirmed the mechanical basis of the new fuel-cell SUV. It is developing a “dedicated architecture for pure electric vehicles” that will include an EV with an estimated 311-mile range. The fuel-cell vehicle is likely to use a dedicated chassis that will give rise to a range of alternative power trains to lower production costs for all alternative fuel models.

Hyundai will sell the new SUV in South Korea in time for the Winter Olympics in Seoul in February 2018.