Audi unveiled its A7 h-tron quattro “demonstrator” vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show, showing what a sporty hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle might look like. One of the most notable features of the car is the e-quattro all-wheel drive system that does not connect the front and rear axles mechanically. Instead, one electric motor provides power to the front axle, and another to the rear. Power delivery is coordinated between the two motors via software, helping the car achieve optimal traction in different scenarios.
Each motor is said to have an output of 113 horsepower, but that number can temporarily be raised to 152 horsepower when needed. Torque output peaks out at 199 lb.-ft. As consumers might already be aware, the use of electric motors means that full torque output is available immediately. That makes for some quick acceleration. Going from 0 to 62 mph takes just 7.1 seconds, according to Audi. That might not sound impressive, but it wasn’t that long ago that Honda boasted a fuel-cell vehicle that could actually go freeway speeds. In other words, the technology has come along by leaps and bounds in the past little while.
The Audi A7 h-tron quattro boasts a driving range of 310 miles, thanks to four hydrogen storage tanks. The hydrogen is kept under the car’s hood, taking up the area where the combustion engine normally would go. Audi pilfered the lithium-ion battery pack from the A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in, which is rated at 8.8 kilowatt hours. That means the demonstrator vehicle technically can be plugged in to be recharged. There is also regenerative braking that helps direct electricity to the battery, potentially supplying enough charge for the car to travel 31 miles without any hydrogen in the tanks. Filling up those tanks only takes about three minutes.
Audi claims that the vehicle could be driven on a regular basis in real traffic. It did not, however, mention any plans to bring the vehicle or any other fuel-cell to market in the immediate future.