Audi Q6 H-tron Hydrogen CUV Gasses Toward Detroit

Fuel cells push out batteries, but Quattro remains.

An Audi spokesperson announced that a "concept car with new drive technology" will be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Instead of introducing another one of those lithium ion all-electric cars, Audi is switching things up with a hydrogen fuel-cell crossover dubbed the Q6 h-tron.

The Audi Q6 h-tron is expected to be based on the Audi E-tron Quattro Concept unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. While the Q6 H-tron may only receive minimal changes from the E-tron quattro in exterior design, the new hydrogen CUV is completely reworked underneath.

The anticipated Q6 H-tron replaces the lithium-ion battery array with a new hydrogen fuel cell mounted to the floor for optimal balance. While Audi has yet to share exactly how the new hydrogen powertrain in the Q6 H-tron will work, Autocar reports that the engineers at Audi have high faith in its hydrogen tech, which utilizes wind turbines that "crack" water into hydrogen and oxygen particles.

On paper, the Audi Q6 H-tron will compete against the likes of the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, a hydrogen variant Toyota Mirai, and the Honda FCV Clarity. Should Audi actually bring the Q6 H-tron to market, expect it to be built alongside the E-tron Quattro as well as traditional gasoline and diesel-engined Audi Q6 variants.

The Q6 E-tron is expected to go on sale by 2018 to compete against the Tesla Model X. At least in concept form, the Q6 features three electric motors combining to produce 429 horsepower as well as a claimed driving range of 311 miles.