L.A. Auto Show LIVE: Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept image

After it was initially the German premium automaker Audi also moved to officially introduce to the wide audience their A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept.

At first glance you wouldn’t say the new model is a concept at all, as the exterior looks are virtually unchanged from the series produced conventional-powered versions, but the A7 h-tron quattro concept actually features serious tweaks to the powertrain. It’s Audi’s take on the rising fuel cell segment – actually a fuel cell hydrogen vehicle featuring a plug-in hybrid system. Utterly German in its complexity, the setup consists of a fuel cell stack located beneath the long hood (300 individual cells with a polymer membrane featuring a platinum-based catalyst on both sides). They have a rang of operations of 230 to 360 volts and they also have a main auxiliary assembly with a turbocharger that sends air into the cells, coupled to a recirculation fan that sends back unused hydrogen.

In full fuel cell mode, the Audi A7 h-tron quattro concept eats up around 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of hydrogen per 100 km (62 miles) – returning a fuel economy of about 3.7 liters (one gallon) / 100 km. The hydrogen tanks are enough for a 310.7 miles (500 km) range. Additionally, there’s an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack taken directly from the A3 Sportback e-tron that grants another 31.1 miles (50 km) of electric range – the energy can be recuperated while driving or recharged in two to four hours from a normal socket (230 or 360 V).

Power comes from two front & rear electric motors that also provide an all-wheel drive setup, each having 85 kW (114 kW temporary output) 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) of torque – enough for the heavy concept to sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.9 seconds, en rout to the top speed of 111.8 mph (180 km/h).