What has an alleged top speed of 221 mph, 0-60 mph acceleration faster than 2.2 seconds, an area of up to 1,016 miles, no emissions from the rear tube, and can only be run in one condition at present?
The answer is the Hyperion XP-1, an exclusive hydrogen fuel cell supercar that was “partly designed to serve as an educational tool for the masses,” according to the company’s chief executive.
Hyperion’s CEO and founding member Angelo Kafantaris described the flamboyant hydrogen amplifier in a statement that accompanied its digital revelation on Wednesday.
Originally to be unveiled at the New York Auto Show 2020 in April and teased since last month, XP-1 marks the first chapter in Hyperion’s long-term vision to deliver “groundbreaking space technology, groundbreaking by NASA” in things ranging from road vehicles to space travel, said the company. Hyperion also said it aims to offer low-cost wheat fuel across America.
The company, which has confirmed that Green car reports a total workforce of about 200, points to the vehicle as “the culmination of nearly ten years of development, testing and research in hydrogen technology by over 200 researchers and researchers.”
Although it has not revealed the power take-off from the fuel cell stack, the exact engine configuration, why there is a 3-speed gearbox or how much hydrogen it can hold. Simply put – and in contrast to the Nikola Badger pickup, which combines battery and fuel cell power sources all in one – the XP-1 aims to showcase the potential of fuel cell vehicles to be lightweight.
Hyperion says that the curb of the XP-1 is less than 2,000 pounds, which allows for an impressive power-to-weight ratio, and the supercar can be refueled in less than five minutes at public stations.
However, the car probably does not have much interior space, and although it stores enough hydrogen for 1,000 miles of range does not add much weight, it takes up very significant volume. That’s why you won’t find more than 400 miles of range in current versions of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Hyundai Nexo or Toyota Mirai.
XP-1 runs on a completely independent double-desired leg suspension made of “ultralight space-quality aluminum alloy”, according to the company, and the ride height can be adjusted via a hydraulic system.
The active solar panel’s “airfoil” wings with high density help aerodynamics and can complement the power requirements. A Kevlar-reinforced composite base diffuser and vortex forced air intake also keeps the air flowing where it needs for high speed stability.
In the pictures, it seems that the XP-1 can be mistaken for a very highly adapted Bugatti Chiron, and the manufacturers of the XP-1 seem to embrace something in the way of space-capsule modernism meets a classic Italian-influenced supercar aesthetic. The car has a 134-inch wrapped glass screen with an “integrity check”, plus V-Wing doors that are said to be inspired by “Winged Victory of Samothrace.”
No pictures of the interior have been released yet, but Hyperion says that the XP-1 has carbon fiber seat structures, hand-sewn leather, with titanium gear selectors and pedals plus carbon / titanium accents. The center console has a 98-inch curved screen with “touchless gesture control.”
Hyperion said the car should be “100% designed, engineered and hand-built in the United States”. Customizable color and trim options are available, but total production for the model will be limited to just 300 units. Deliveries will begin in early 2022.
This first revelation lacks many critical questions about sales, service, distribution and how it plans to make hydrogen available to its drivers outside of California.
2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell at the hydrogen fuel station [photo: Chris Baccus]
Green car reports has reached out to the company with a second round of questions about it and more – for example if it is looking for a self-developed hydrogen distribution model something like Nikola Motors. However, privately funded Hyperion has been around longer; it was founded in 2011 and has been developing XP-1 since 2016 – although the company Orange, California, has been in stealth mode for much of that time. It includes Hyperion Energy, Hyperion Motors and Hyperion Aerospace, all focused on hydropower and delivery.