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Audi's h-tron quattro concept makes hydrogen power look awesome

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This is the Audi h-tron quattro, a squat SUV that runs on hydrogen alone with a fuel cell powertrain. The company says it'll run around 372 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, sprint to 62 mph in under 7 seconds, and can refill in just four minutes. Inside, the car has the kind of advanced interior you'd expect of a true concept, featuring curved OLED displays.

That refill time is hydrogen's real value proposition in the race to alternative fuel vehicles — even the fastest-charging EVs still take 20 minutes or more to get a decent level of charge in the batteries, while the hydrogen refueling experience is more akin to gasoline, and the only exhaust is water. Of course, the problem is that hydrogen fuel cell cars need a network of refueling stations, and right now, those don't really exist; there are small numbers of them concentrated in California, but a global network on the same ubiquity as gasoline is many, many decades away, assuming automakers can convince us that we want hydrogen in the first place.

Though the h-tron quattro is a concept, Audi has made a number of successively more advanced hydrogen concepts over the past several years that suggest a commercial model can't be far off. Through 2018, the company's plans include a fully electric SUV and several plug-in hybrids.

audi h-tron
audi h-tron