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This Strange-Looking Concept SUV Uses Swappable Hydrogen Bottles to Boost Range

Imagine an electric SUV that recharges as quickly as you can fill a gas tank, and you’ve got the NamX hydrogen SUV concept.

byJames Gilboy|
NamX hydrogen SUV concept


Hydrogen cars' potential may be far from fulfillment, but French-Moroccan car startup NamX has an idea for making them more usable: Removable hydrogen capsules that can boost range, which it demonstrated in its concept for a hydrogen fuel cell SUV.

Its proposal, on display at the Paris Motor Show, takes the form of a four-door coupe-over concept styled by Pininfarina that uses dual hydrogen storage systems to maximize range. It has a fixed internal tank that's said to take less than four minutes to fill, plus docks for up to six refillable hydrogen canisters for extra fuel, which NamX estimates will add to the range and top out at 497 miles (800 kilometers). NamX imagines that its hydrogen bottles would be refillable at hydrogen stations, available pre-filled through retail locations or delivered to owners' homes through subscription services.

It'd all be in service of an SUV that's not nearly as appliance-like as many imagine battery EVs to be, with a proposed rear-wheel-drive base model generating 300 horsepower, and a performance all-wheel-drive making 550 hp according to Carscoops. It'd offer a zero-to-60 mph time of as little as 4.3 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph.

NamX isn't clear on how much its SUV's range would come from its onboard tank versus its removable cells though, and it's not clear whether this system is as beneficial as it first appears. Existing hydrogen cars such as the Toyota Mirai can already travel more than 400 miles on their internal tanks, and this multi-capsule setup's added complexity could increase the cost of a production vehicle.

In all, NamX's H2 bottle idea is neat without a doubt, but it kinda puts the cart before the horse. Or rather, cartridge before the horsepower. (Note to readers: I'm sorry, that's not even remotely clever and I know it.)

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