Audi is expected to showcase a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of its Q6 e-tron quattro concept at January's Detroit show
Darren Moss
18 December 2015

Audi will reveal a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of its e-tron quattro concept at the Detroit motor show in January.

German media reports suggest the Q6 h-tron will use the same MLB platform as the all-electric e-tron quattro concept. That car’s batteries, which were mounted low down to create the best possible centre of gravity, will be replaced with hydrogen fuel cells.

Although an Audi spokesman stopped short of revealing the car’s identity, it's been confirmed that “a concept car with new drive technology” is scheduled to be unveiled at January’s show.

Audi applied to trademark the phrase 'h-tron’ earlier this year. It’s already known the German manufacturer is looking to bring fuel cell technology to market, and in November we sampled the A7 h-tron. Audi engineers are said to have plenty of faith in hydrogen as a fuel, due to the ease with which it can be created, using wind turbines to 'crack' water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The Q6 h-tron’s styling is unlikely to vary much from the Q6 e-tron, with only minimal changes made to its exterior design. The Q6 e-tron will go on sale in 2018 as a rival to the Tesla Model X and costing around £60,000. The Q6 e-tron features three electric motors producing a combined 429bhp, with a claimed zero-emission driving range of 311 miles.

A production h-tron version is also likely to feature in the Q6 range, alongside traditional combustion-engined variants.

If the h-tron does make production, it will face competition from Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell in the SUV market, as well as other hydrogen-powered cars like the Toyota Mirai and Honda’s upcoming FCV Clarity.

Our Verdict

The second generation Audi Q7
Audi Q7 is priced from £47,755

New flagship SUV is lighter, smaller and smarter. But is it any better?

Join the debate


18 December 2015
Could it be anticipated that this will have a range of circa 400 miles on a tank (taking only 3.5 minutes to fill), that it will do UK 50 mpg equivalent, costing about 10 pence per mile, I wonder.

18 December 2015
I think Audi need to speed their development up a bit, I'm not sure about their naming convention either. The current A3 e-tron is a phev so the name indicates the Q6 e-tron would be too. Anyhow the rest of the story indicates it's actually an EV but won't be ready till 2018 (at the earliest) why such little progress on a propulsion method that other car companies have been using for several years already, their own R8 e-tron concept was nearly 6 years ago.
p.s. like the footnote at the end "If the h-tron does make production....." i.e. it won't but we like the publicity the story generates.


Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 December 2015
Some interesting points, @xxxx. I wonder whether Audi are hedging bets here, and hoping that by the time they are ready for market, "someone else" will have got the hydrogen infrastructure up and running. I like the idea of wind power being used to do the splitting, although I have no idea whether this would be viable on a "local" basis (to get round envirronmental objections to fuel transportation by "dirty" means) or not.

18 December 2015
So if the E-tron is going to start at 60K what would the H-tron likely be in comparison? Will there be any difference in the power output supplied by the two different methods and will there any sort of weight penalty for either?? I can't imagine that if the Hydrogen car is significantly more expensive (which it surely would be?) that it will be able to overcome any sort of measurable disadvantage to a car within it's own range

18 December 2015
@gigglebug, pricing could indeed be an interesting one. I see that the fuel cell iX35 (Tucson) is available in USA for "Q7" money at $499 per month including free fuel. The newer bodied gasoline Tucson in comparison is $239 per month (but no free fuel!). So, hazarding a guess, Q6 h-tron for less than double Q7 money?

18 December 2015
I bought a lot of new Audi's starting fromMk1 A3 up to a B8 A4 Avant. Got bored with the styling evolving slowly, and moved to BMW.

If Audis started looking like this (not so much the front, but the side surfacing) I'd think again. Come on Audi how about a change of styling direction?

21 December 2015
Can't say I'm a fan of BMW styling these days. I moved from BMW to Audi, because of the exact opposite reason. Couldn't stand the Bangle designs and now I find BMW to look bulbous, unresolved and ungainly. Still I like the i3 and i8 designs! But then again, I love the school of Bauhaus and Mies van der Rohe, which Audi appear to espouse.

19 December 2015
Seems like a positive fall-out of the emissions scandal. Volkswagen has moved to the stage where they can at least conceive this alternative power train.

19 December 2015
fadyady wrote:

Volkswagen has moved to the stage where they can at least conceive this alternative power train.

Their research has been from 1997 onwards, so the emissions thing in 2015 probably has little to do with their conceiving it, I would have thought. But, if the marketplace is ripening for such tech, then it makes good business sense to be getting their stake in the ground right now. Everything is in the timing of publicity, of course.

19 December 2015
Delighted another maker is jumping on this band wagon. In this case VAG - let us hope they dont advertise as zero emissions and 500 mile range and end up in jail !!! Apart from that - the faster we dump diesels the better. I am proud to say I never owned this dirty smelly awful product. I was not too vocal about hating them, but just didnt like the emmisions and the soot and the smell and the dirty problem of refilling

what's life without imagination


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals