Volkswagen claims the introduction of the HyMotion makes the Golf the first car in the world to be offered with “all forms of currently available powertrains”, with the hydrogen-powered research vehicle joining petrol, diesel, natural gas, plug-in hybrid and electric production models.
Though Volkswagen has never launched a hydrogen-powered production car, the Golf Wagon HyMotion uses the brand’s fourth-generation fuel cell – also featured in sister brand Audi’s A7 h-tron concept in LA.
The hydrogen drive system produces 100kW of power and can launch the compact wagon from 0-100km/h in 10.0 seconds.
All drive components are integrated under the bonnet, while a high-voltage lithium-ion battery is housed above the rear suspension and four carbonfibre hydrogen tanks are mounted in the vehicle floor, meaning interior space is identical to that of a petrol-powered Golf.
Volkswagen says the tanks’ capacity enable a driving range of 500km, and they can be refilled in about three minutes.
The battery stores kinetic energy recovered from regenerative braking to both assist in the starting phase of the fuel cell, when the cell has not built up enough electrical power to drive the motor by itself, and act like a turbocharger to add a boost to the car’s maximum acceleration.
Volkswagen says the Golf Wagon HyMotion is designed to demonstrate how a hydrogen fuel cell could be implemented in a vehicle based on the MQB platform.
A production version could be some way off, however, with the company insisting a broad network of hydrogen fuel stations and production of hydrogen from renewable sources needs to be well established before it will introduce the technology to market.
Volkswagen has been running a fleet of Passat HyMotion research vehicles on the streets of California using the same drive components as those fitted to the Golf Wagon HyMotion.