The Covid-19 pandemic is ensuring manufacturers shut down high-tech projects, if at the end of the day, they remain merely experiments in showcases. The latest news is that Audi will no longer focus on hydrogen power for any future products, which naturally concludes the fate of the Audi H-tron SUV concept.
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board for Audi AG, told German newspaper De Zeit, that it is virtually impossible to produce enough CO2-neutral hydrogen at scale for passenger cars in the coming decades. According to the executive, the only sustainable solution for passenger cars is an electric car with a battery.
To recap, the Audi H-tron was a SUV concept unveiled at the 2016 edition of the NAIAS at Detroit, USA. It was billed as a highly efficient and sporty hydrogen SUV with 2.2 lbs of hydrogen consumed per 62 miles, and a mere 4 minutes required to fill the tank. The Audi H-tron had a range of 372 miles between a tank of hydrogen, and for its time, had a low Cd (coefficient of drag) of only 0.27.
With its entire focus of sustainable mobility directed towards the electric car, Audi will be making significant strides in this area through 2025. Next year, the VW-owned carmaker plans on launching the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback electric SUVs in European markets with a US rollout expected in early 2022.
The electric Q4 will match the Audi H-tron concept for range at about 380 miles thanks to a large 100 kWh battery and an aerodynamic Cd of 0.25. The electric Audis will also offer fast charging which should see 80 per cent of their range being made available in about 45 minutes of charging time from a fast charging station.
With the Audi Q4 e-tron twins, the company will push into Tesla’s territory, and at an anticipated price of USD 47,500 for the base variant, could give the Tesla Model Y strong competition. Three variants of the Q4 e-tron are rumored to be available at launch: 150 kW single-motor, 195 kW dual-motor and 225 kW dual-motor.
The Audi Q4 e-tron twins are developed on the VW Group’s MEB platform, which has already completed projects for group brands including the VW ID.3, ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq. This is another area which could have influenced Audi from going forward with the Audi H-tron: the cost of the platform supporting a standalone product versus a modular platform shared within brands for what are projected to be volume spinning electric cars and SUVs.