The cars of tomorrow keep getting more complex.
Audi seems to be hell bent on making it so that the next time you need to fuel up your SUV, you think of the first element in the periodic table, hydrogen. Audi’s first step towards this future devoid of exploding liquids is the h-tron quattro concept that was shown at the Detroit Auto Show. The hydrogen fuel cell will produce electricity for the four electric motors producing up to 110 kWh. The all-wheel drive SUV accelerates from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds, with water gushing out of the exhaust.
A combination of high ground clearance and a 372-mile range means that the h-tron quattro can be a worthy on and off-road companion, but don’t wander too far away from California where 11 of the 14 hydrogen fueling stations in the nation reside. Aside from the fuel source, the sharp lines of the exterior, and the edginess of the interior, the h-tron's futuristic feel comes from Audi’s piloted driving tech. The system enables the driver to sleep, play with their iDevices, or read an old-fashioned book at speeds of up to 37 mph using an army of radar, laser, and camera sensors. The driver even has the ability to forgo the valet and let the car do its own parking via the key fob.
Some of this autonomous technology is set to migrate from the h-tron test bed and debut in the 2017 Audi A8, so expect to see more autopilot videos soon. Like all other hydrogen-powered cars, if hydrogen infrastructure can expand considerably, then four-minute fill up times may give these manufacturers an advantage over Tesla’s supercharger network.