Pininfarina, the Italian design and engineering firm often employed by the likes of Ferrari and Maserati to sketch and build their prototypes, has debuted its own radical hydrogen-fuel cell supercar concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed the H2 Speed, the combined power output from its two electric motors is around 370 kW (500 hp) – produced at a dizzying 13,000 rpm. With water being the only exhaust emission, the company believes that the H2 Speed concept is the embodiment of sportiness, performance, and pure driving fun in an environmentally responsible package.
Today there are many hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles being designed and created with the purpose of offering alternatives to conventionally-powered passenger vehicles, with a growing selection ranging from city runabouts to family cars steadily moving from drawing boards to the road. Now Pininfarina has offered up the H2 Speed Concept to fill the high-performance track car/limited production supercar niche.
Capable of sprinting to 100 km/h (62 mph) in around 3.4 seconds, and completing a 400 m (1/4 mile) standing start in 11 seconds, the 1,420 kg (3,130 lb) H2 Speed also has a claimed top speed of some 300 km/h (186 mph). Declared by the creators to be the world's first hydrogen, high-performance car (the yet-to-be-proven Quanta e not withstanding), the H2 Speed is propelled by a two-motor drive train and 210 kW twin-stack proton exchange membrane fuel cells designed and developed outside of Pininfarina by GreenGT, a Franco-Swiss company that has been in the sustainable propulsion business since 2008.
"The H2 Speed is the symbol of Pininfarina's dedication to purity, elegance and innovation," said Pinifarina chairman, Paolo Pininfarina. "The spirit of the project is directly linked to the great aerodynamic tradition often explored by Pininfarina over the decades as well as to our most recent dream cars. The present concept is a synthesis of technology, sustainability, harmony, aerodynamic flow and, above all, speed. And it is also the best way to confirm Pininfarina's role as the standard-bearer of the aesthetic values of Italian design in the world and to strengthen its brand, the company's true hallmark."
Replete with a carbon fiber chassis, front and rear wishbones, push rod suspension, specially-cast OZ Racing wheels (11x19-inch front, 12x20-inch rear), and carbon brakes, the H2 Speed is certainly set up to handle and stop with aplomb, whilst the direct (1:6.3 ratio) transmission to the rear wheels means that there is no clutch, no differential, and no need to shift any gears, leaving the driver to concentrate solely on taking the right lines. Combined with a state-of-the-art, high-performance torque vectoring system, and the entire package promises a fast, maneuverable machine.
Long and low – 4.7 m (15.4 ft) long, 1.087 m (42.7 in) high, and 2.0m (6.5 ft) wide – with form following function, the design of the body starts with the placement of 6.1 kg (13.4 lb) capacity hydrogen fuel tanks either side of the cabin (and refillable from empty in under three minutes according to Pininfarina) which are faired-in and provide a channel for airflow to the rear of the vehicle. Similarly, a raft of triangular-shaped ducts direct the air around and through the body for maximum downforce and aerodynamic stability. At the entry of two to these channels, two radiators are located laterally to cool the fuel cell block, whilst a central front-mounted duct pushes air along the sides of the cabin and into the engine compartment for cooling.
As the vehicle is primarily a research and development platform for future work by Pininfarina (for itself and any of its manufacturer clients moving into this arena), no commercial release for the H2 Speed is expected.
The video below shows the H2 Speed Concept in action.