Audi to accelerate fuel cell vehicle development


Audi wants to intensify the development of fuel cell cars, despite the mother group’s focus on battery electric mobility. Audi boss Bram Schot said: “We really want to accelerate it. We will give more priority to hydrogen fuel cells – more money, more capacity and more confidence.”

The news broke first in Autocar that quoted the executive saying the above. Reportedly, Audi is responsible for fuel cell development for the entire Volkswagen Group with the Fuel Cell Competence Center located at the Audi Neckarsulm site. Audi CEO Schot now detailed the task saying that Audi intends to present the prototype of the sixth fuel cell generation before the end of this year and could offer a small-series model manufactured at the site in Neckarsulm as part of a leasing programme from 2021.

Still, a more detailed schedule for the series production of FCEV models has not yet been set, but Schot is confident that this could happen in the second half of the next decade. This is a little sooner, yet still, in line with the Volkswagen Group’s latest estimates, that fuel cell technology will not be mass-market ready in the next ten years. During a call, executives of VW, BMW and Daimler had reportedly agreed on a common approach towards electric mobility following Volkswagen’s recent demand for technological clarity, that is a focus on battery-electric cars for the time being.

However, Audi has been suffering from a low supply in batteries. CEO Schot mentions the issue, saying “if this modality is here to stay, then you have to try to find the most effective and efficient way to drive electric. And then you come to hydrogen fuel cells.” So Audi turned to the Koreans from Hyundai-Kia to develop fuel cell technology ready for series FCEVs. The agreement concluded last year with Hyundai includes cross-license patents and specifically aims at a series-ready hydrogen technology that ultimately the entire VW Group will use. A small demonstration series is expected in 2020 (we reported).

Last June, Audi also extended their joint programme with Ballard and Hymotion until August 2022. Ballard is focusing on the development and production of fuel cell stacks for the Audi FCEV demonstration programme reportedly.

Audi introduced the h-tron range first in 2016 and has since been working on getting the hydrogen fuel cell technology closer to market readiness. Only the brand has never launched any of their concept vehicles – until soon it appears, with Schot having revived the h-tron programme officially now.


about „Audi to accelerate fuel cell vehicle development“
Abdullah Meziu
04.05.2019 um 18:17
The reason why we have to use the H2 in the future is that we can generate H2 by the solar, by the wind, by the tides, everywhere in the world. H2 is the best battery. I dream that the strategy of H2 definitely will solve the problems of environment and will enable new sources of clean energy!Thanks!
10.05.2019 um 10:08
H2 Production and use in FC is first of all a huge loss of renewable energy. only 1/3 is left for use. so as long as renewable energy production is low, we should not waste it in H2
Howe Leske
08.05.2019 um 15:00
If it only was that easy. I agree that H2 is the fuel of the future, but it also raises new problems. While H2 can be generated by solar energy, wind or tides, compression, storage and transport also require quite an amount of energy. Apart from that, H2 is very volatile. For safety reasons, tanks are usually stored within the passenger cell which occupies quite some space. (See the Toyota Mirai for example, rear seats cannot be folded down for that very reason.) Apart from that, it is currently cheaper to produce H2 from oil - which, from an ecological view, does not make any sense. But let's hope that there soon will be cheap ways to produce and compress H2 from/with renewable sources.

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