Audi is revisiting fuel cell technology

Hydrogen fuel cells could be more sustainable and fuel cell refueling times are similar to petrol- or diesel-powered cars

09 May 2019 - 10:38 By Denis Droppa
Audi h-tron quattro fuel cell concept car at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.
Audi h-tron quattro fuel cell concept car at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.
Image: Supplied

Fuel cell vehicles have been overshadowed by battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), with Toyota, Honda and Hyundai among the few to have fuel cell cars either in development or on sale.

But Audi Chairman Bram Schot says the brand will introduce a new fuel cell prototype car later this year, with a limited-run fuel cell vehicle to be offered via a lease programme by 2021.

Audi is partnering with Hyundai on fuel cells which will allow the technology to be used in production cars quicker and cheaper.

Audi has previously displayed two fuel cell concept cars: the A7 h-tron and the h-tron crossover concept, but neither went into production as Audi joined the rest of the industry rush to BEVs.

Audi’s concern about sourcing battery materials is rooted in the fact that increased production of BEVs may lead to a shortage of metal components used to make their lithium-ion batteries. Leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla has warned a global shortage of battery minerals could be on the horizon due to underinvestment in the mining sector.

Hydrogen fuel cells could be more sustainable and fuel cell refueling times are similar to petrol- or diesel-powered cars, though setting up a hydrogen infrastructure remains a big obstacle.

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