Audi surprised attendees of the North American International Auto Show with a new hydrogen fuel cell-powered concept called the “h-tron quattro” concept.
The h-tron bit of the name is Audi’s code for hydrogen models in its range, and quattro refers to the car’s all-wheel drive system, which, in this case, is all-electric. Think of this — and all hydrogen cars — as an electric car you can refuel in four minutes. In the case of this Audi h-tron quatro, it can do 378 miles on a tank of hydrogen and 0 to 62 mph in less than 7 seconds.
Electric power generated by the onboard fuel cell is put to the pavement through two electric motors in the front and rear of the car. And with an electric all-wheel drive system, it should be exceptionally capable in terms of traction. That’s because electric motors can add and subtract torque to the wheels in a split second. With quick-reacting traction, there are probably few conditions this eco-friendly crossover couldn’t handle.
Although neither you nor I will be able to drive the h-tron quattro, Audi reassures us that it features the brand’s latest piloted (self-driving) technology that will go into the production version of the next-generation full-size A8 sedan.
The system uses Nvidia computer chips, fed by cameras and radar sensors to create a realtime image of the car’s surroundings. Think of creating a video game in reverse instead of creating a world and displaying it digitally, the car’s computers take our world and create a digital structure of it.
It then feeds this rendering of our real world out to the driver support systems that react accordingly — all in a split second. The system will work in stop-and-go freeway traffic up to 37 mph at first. Surely, other more robust systems will follow the A8. Although it’s not saying yet, Audi is likely planning a production h-tron model for the future, too.