Super-efficient EV SUV to be ready by 2020 as Audi chases hydrogen future
A PRODUCTION version of Audi’s h-tron quattro concept will hit public roads by 2020, says Audi AG chairman Rupert Stadler.
The bright yellow concept was revealed ahead of the 2016 Detroit motor show as a hydrogen-powered, pure electric SUV. It combines the body of the e-tron concept with a development of the technology first seen in the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron, which was displayed at the 2014 Los Angeles motor show.
Speaking to Wheels at the h-tron’s global reveal in Detroit, Stadler confirmed Audi’s zero emission hydrogen technology will be ready by the end of the decade.
“I would say we’ll talk about 2020,” he said. “First of all we are preparing a fully-electric car in 2018 and then afterwards the next-step will be the hydrogen model.”
The bold, eye-searing yellow Audi h-tron concept on the Detroit show stand boasts a range of 600km from a trio of hydrogen tanks, which can be refilled in a swift four minutes. That’s 100km more than the 2014 Audi A7 Sportback h-tron.
The parsimonious SUV – which has a body that shows yet another evolution of a potential BMW X6 rival – can also hit 0-100km/h in 7.0sec, almost a second faster than the 2014 LA show car.
“We are already in the development process of the hydrogen technology and we are now in the fifth-generation of these drivetrains, so we are improving year on year,” said Stadler.
The fuel cell, which is housed in the engine bay, provides 100kW of power, while a battery pack provides a 100kW boost to the electric motors, with one mounted on each axle.
Combined torque is a considerable 500Nm, and being an Audi it’s all-wheel drive. While most of the grunt can be sent to the rear, the h-tron is front-wheel drive at low speed, where recuperative braking and a roof-mounted solar panel help to maximise efficiency.
The Detroit concept also shows off a suite of autonomous technology too, which Stadler confirmed will go into production in the brand’s flagship saloon, the Audi A8, in 2017. “We are sure that from 2017, with the new A8, we are prepared to go to the market as an autonomous car.”