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Fuel Cell-Powered Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Hymotion Debuts in L.A.

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/20/2014 Kelly Pleskot

Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota have all brought out new hydrogen-powered cars, and Volkswagen is now ready to jump on the hydrogen bandwagon, debuting a new fuel cell version of the Golf SportWagen at the L.A. auto show this week.

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Hymotion is built on the same flexible MQB architecture that is used on a variety of Volkswagen Group models, and it looks just like your typical Golf SportWagen variant. The car borrows many components from the Golf and merges them with new engineering specific for a fuel cell vehicle, a strategy that should make the end product more affordable than if it was an entirely new model. It comes with an electric motor and transmission taken from the e-Golf -- both of which assist a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and fuel cell system in driving.

Volkswagen Golf Hymotion Concept Front View© Provided by MotorTrend Volkswagen Golf Hymotion Concept Front View Volkswagen says that its new fuel cell vehicle will only have 134 hp, contributing to its slow 0-62 mph time of 10 seconds. But drivers can travel 310 miles on a single tank of hydrogen before having to refuel. Just like in a gasoline-powered car, refilling should only take minutes.

But how does it all work? According to VW, hydrogen and oxygen come together in the fuel cell to form water in a "cold combustion" process. The lithium-ion battery acts as a second power plant, assisting the fuel cell to drive the electric motor when taking off from a start, and storing energy from regenerative braking. The battery also acts as a turbocharger during fast acceleration for maximum power.

The Golf lineup can be had with gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric powertrains. Considering that it is also available in plug-in hybrid and natural gas versions in markets outside the U.S., the Golf could become the world's first model range to be offered with every powertrain currently available if a hydrogen model were added.

Fuel Cell-Powered Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Hymotion Debuts in L.A.

Currently, Volkswagen is testing out its hydrogen technology on Passat mules, using the same drive components as the Golf Sportwagen Hymotion. These test cars can be seen on roads in California. No word on when this research vehicle will make its way to production.

Source: Volkswagen

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