Industry Press Releases

Volkswagen AG introduces Fuel Cell Concept Cars at LA Auto Show

Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Ballard Power Systems  congratulates Volkswagen AG on the fuel cell-powered concept cars the Company introduced at last week's LA Auto Show. The concept cars represent multiple Volkswagen and Audi brand models: Golf SportWagen HyMotion, Passat HyMotion and Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro. These fuel cell cars utilize technology and components developed with the engineering support of Ballard Power Systems.   

Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO said, "These fuel cell concept cars are an important step for Group Research at Volkswagen and underscore the progress in fuel cell car development across the entire automotive industry, as demonstrated at the LA Auto Show. We congratulate Volkswagen on these high-performance vehicles and look forward to our continuing relationship with one of the world's leading automotive manufacturers."  

Commenting on one of the concept cars, Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi said, "The h-tron concept car shows that we have also mastered fuel cell technology. We are in a position to launch the production process as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready." He added, "The A7 Sportback h-tron quattro is a genuine Audi – at once sporty and efficient."

The concept cars are capable of accelerating from zero to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in ten seconds or less, have fuel storage capacity enabling a driving range of about 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) and can be refilled with hydrogen fuel in about three minutes.

Each of the cars is powered by a fourth-generation LT PEM (low temperature proton exchange membrane) fuel cell stack, delivering 100 kilowatts of power and augmented by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery. The key element of each individual fuel cell – many of which are combined to form a stack – is a proton-conducting membrane. Each membrane is located between an anode and a cathode in the fuel cell. Hydrogen flows into the cell at the anode end and oxygen at the cathode end. The hydrogen and oxygen react and combine to form water at the cathode end and electrical energy is released in this process, without any combustion.

In March 2013 Ballard and Volkswagen AG signed a long-term Engineering Services contract to advance development of fuel cells for use in powering demonstration cars in Volkswagen AG's fuel cell automotive research program. The contract term is 4-years, with an option for a 2-year extension.