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Audi A2H2

Audi A2H2 Car

The Audi Hydrogen A2 auto (dubbed A2H2) combines the high-tech environmentally friendly design of a green H2 vehicle with the peppiness of a small sports auto. The Audi A2H2 uses a Ballard PEM fuel cell stack combined with a high-torque electric motor to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just under 10 seconds. The A2H2 is based upon the Audi A2, which is a popular model in Europe.

Audi A2H2 Hydrogen Car

I had the pleasure to ride in the Audi Hydrogen A2H2 auto during the NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference 2006 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. I also had the further pleasure to be quickly passed by the Audi A2H2 as I was driving another Volkswagen hydrogen vehicle, the HyMotion in a autoavan of six other hydrogen vehicles, who were all taking a spin around the block. With much glee (and a bit of a lead-foot), the driver who shall remain nameless, passed us at quite a clip and may have very well gotten a speeding ticket, which in my opinion would have done all the more to promote hydrogen autos had this incident made the 11 O’Clock news.

The Audi Hydrogen A2H2 auto has a top speed of 109 mph, a range of 137 miles and an effective efficiency of 94 mpg. The Audi A2H2 contains three Dynetek hydrogen storage tanks at a pressure of 350 bar, for a total capacity of 1.8 kg (3.96 lb.) of compressed hydrogen. What gives the A2H2 its power is the 66 kw synchronous electric motor that delivers up to 425 nm (313 lb.-ft.) torque, which can be powered both directly by the PEM fuel cell as needed and the 38 kw NiMH traction battery pack. This combination can deliver up to 150 bhp (110 kw) for short periods such as for passing another vehicle or for climbing hills.

The Audi Hydrogen A2H2 auto has another feature familiar in hybrid vehicles and that is that the A2H2 uses regenerative braking in order to recapture kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack.

Audi A2H2 Shifter
In start mode is the only time that the Audi A2H2’s entire system is supplied with electricity from the battery and the only time the electrical current flows from the battery to the fuel cell system.

Another aspect of the Audi A2H2 that surprised me was how the shifter for the automatic transmission was configured. The reverse, neutral and drive gears were on the right side and the high and low gears on the left closest to the driver. According to the test engineer who took me for the drive, there was usually a laptop on top of the dashboard taking diagnostic readings that were then sent back to Germany for analysis, but since the public was invited along for the ride, the laptop was gone for the day.

Top photo courtesy Hydro Kevin Kantola



  1. Avatar

    Have to say what Audi are doing with their contribution to the hydrogen auto market is simply brilliant. They have to be one of the standout market leaders for their contribution to the development of technology and innovative thinking. That being said the A2H2 doesn’t look overly impressive I think more work needs to be done on the design and style of these vehicles to make them more compelling for people to buy.

  2. George Wand

    Kevin, do you know that there is a strong, very interesting Chinese connection to the development of Audi H2 autos?

  3. Hydro Kevin Kantola

    Hi George, tell me more!

  4. Avatar

    Greetings, Kevin,

    I moved from southern California, where, theoretically, I should have been eligible to lease a hydrogen fuel cell auto, as I was surrounded by hydrogen fueling facilities (including the local Sunline Transit bus refueling station, that had been there for a decade or more and could be refueled by those Coachella Valley windmills or 363-day/yr. sunshine!?). Now I live in the Sierras near Reno, NV. Do I have any hope of leasing or buying a hydrogen fuel cell auto soon? Really can’t hold out with the auto I have many more months, and really don’t want to buy an ICE or fracking/nuclear/coal/dam -powered auto!
    Thanks for keeping your ear to the ground/eyes on the trade reports to keep apprised and keep the rest of us apprised!

  5. Hydro Kevin Kantola

    Hi Steph, unfortunately you’ll need to wait as there are no scheduled hydrogen fueling stations for Reno, Nevada right now.

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