Hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains have been demonstrated in sedans, SUVs, and commercial trucks, but a California-based company plans to use fuel cells for something a lot faster.
The Hyperion XP-1 is a hydrogen fuel-cell supercar that has been in development since 2016—with the company itself nine years old. The car was due to be physically revealed at the 2020 New York Auto Show in April, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans were changed to an online reveal in August.
Hyperion’s tagline is “space technology for the road.” What that means specifically for the XP-1 is unclear, but the company is making claims that echo other proponents of fuel-cell vehicles, including greater range than battery-electric cars, with refueling times comparable to current gasoline cars.
Based in Orange, California, Hyperion has remained in “stealth mode” for most of the time since its 2011 inception. In addition to its automotive division, Hyperion claims to have energy and aerospace divisions that will purportedly make use of NASA-developed technology.
The company replied to Green Car Reports that it has received “many millions over 8+ years” through venture capital firms, private equity firms, hedge funds, and various other investors. It has a 200-person total workforce.
While several companies have developed battery-electric performance cars, there’s currently nothing like the XP-1 in the sports car/supercar realm.
Toyota, however, is giving the new Mirai more of a sporty spin, as well as a 400-mile range, as part of a redesign.
The Nikola Badger pickup truck aims to combine battery-electric and fuel-cell power for a combined 600-mile range. Nikola has only shown renderings of the truck ahead of a planned unveiling in December, but the company is already taking $5,000 pre-orders from customers.
So far, hydrogen cars have struggled to gain a foothold, due in part to lack of fueling infrastructure. Using fuel cells as a range booster for battery-electric vehicles could be a more practical route. Although as this supercar might hint, something faster and sexier might also help.