9 Cool Things to Know About the Audi h-tron Concept

Audi H Tron Quattro Concept Front Three Quarters

Unless you’re an alternative-powertrain nerd or an Audi geek of the highest order, it would have been easy not to know that the Audi h-tron concept the four-ring brand rolled out onto its stand at the 2016 Detroit auto show is utilizing the fifth generation of Audi’s hydrogen fuel cell technology under its shiny yellow hood.

Audi H Tron Quattro Concept Rear Three Quarters

Siegfried Pint, Audi AG’s head of electrified powertrain development responsible for the e-tron and h-tron concepts, has been on the leading edge of Audi’s hydrogen-powered efforts from its first Audi A2H2 supermini up to the h-tron. The h-tron is the culmination of a decade’s worth of efforts, and from our vantage point, it’s closer than ever to an actual production model. Pint also had a huge hand in the Audi e-tron concept that debuted at last year’s Frankfurt show. The e-tron and h-tron are similar in exterior look and execution. Both are boxy, midsize crossovers that foreshadow the coming Audi Q6. Not surprisingly, Pint said the electric motor configuration of the e-tron is similar in scope to the h-tron, but there are obvious packaging differences given the powertrain setups.

Audi H Tron Quattro Concept Front End

Here’s what Pint says sets the Audi h-tron apart from the crowd. • The h-tron utilizes what amounts to an electrified version of quattro all-wheel drive through the use of two electric motors, a 90-kilowatt unit that drives the front wheels, and a 140-kilowatt motor at the rear. “Outstanding performance from our point of view,” says Pint. • Total system power of the h-tron is 210 kilowatts, with 405 lb-ft of peak torque. That’s 110 kilowatts from the fuel cell stack and a boost of up to 100 kilowatts from its lithium ion battery pack. (The Toyota Mirai’s total system power is 114 kilowatts and 247 lb-ft.) “It’s an efficient car on one side, on the other hand it’s a very emotional, sporty car,” says Pint. • Like the Mirai, the h-tron’s hydrogen storage tanks are triple lined with polymer laminates and store hydrogen at 700 bar (about 10,100 psi). Unlike the Mirai, the h-tron uses three tanks instead of two, with one of the three up front underneath the car’s center stack. • Fueling of the h-tron only takes four minutes, which is on par with filling up a gasoline powered car. “It’s the key advantage,” says Pint. • Total range is an estimated 372 miles to a fill-up (the Mirai is EPA rated at 312). The only range anxiety in this case is where to find a station. • The h-tron can reportedly hit 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. We’re not 100 percent sure, but we think it’s the fastest hydrogen powered vehicle. Pint drove it: “From a driving impression, it’s very much a pure electric car.” • The h-tron’s hydrogen fuel cell stack is 25 to 30 percent smaller than before, and operates at a 95 degree stack temperature. “That makes the package much better. Less coolant components means a better package with more space,” says Pint.

Audi H Tron Quattro Concept Interior

• Freaking lasers! All major lighting functions inside the cabin of the h-tron are illuminated using matrix laser technology, helping to create OLED displays that render 2D displays in a 3D effect. • The h-tron’s parking aid and piloted-driving features are essentially what will be employed on the forthcoming all-new Audi A8. Audi says that at speeds up to 37 mph in stop and go conditions, the car will be essentially able to drive itself.