Could hydrogen power really be the future of racing?

Remember the Pininfarina H2 Speed Concept back in 2016? It was said the concept, which wasn’t functional at the time, could evolve into a real-life electric race car. Sure enough, two years later, Pininfarina is back in Geneva showcasing the H2 Speed, in working guise, with the promise to produce a total of 12 examples. To be clear, however, it may have electric motors, but it’s actually powered by hydrogen – something that makes using in on the track for long periods of time feasible. Pininfarina promises a refilling time of just 3 minutes but hasn’t disclosed the range a full tank of hydrogen will get. There’s so much more, though, so keep reading to learn about the important details.

Is the 2018 Pininfarina H2 Speed the Same as the 2016 H2 Speed?

left right
It might look the same at first glance, but you’ll notice there are some changes.

No, it certainly isn’t. It might look the same at first glance, but you’ll notice there are some changes. For instance, the wheelbase has now been extended while the width has actually been reduced. The H-point has also been raised as a solution to provide better visibility for the driver and allow for the necessary roll cage. The rear intakes have been altered to send air toward the electric motors and rear brakes. The air scoop on the roof now accommodates airflow in the cabin.

The spoiler has been reworked in comparison to the concept as well, which allows for to be fully adjustable as needed. On that note, the front end has carried over practically unchanged, as has the central part of the vehicle. From a visual standpoint you can’t see the difference with an untrained eye, but if you look closely, and compare the two side by side, you can see the differences.

It’s not all about looks, though. If you remember correctly, the 2016 H2 speed wasn’t functional – you couldn’t just take it out on the track. This time around, it’s functional and ready to hit the track. Well, assuming you have some hydrogen fuel at your disposal, anyway.

The Pininfarina H2 Speed Evolves from Simple Concept to Full-Blown, Hydrogen-Powered Racecar Exterior
- image 772852

2018 Pininfarina H2 Speed Dimensions

Length 4730mm
Height 1113mm
Width 1956mm
Wheelbase 2968mm
Front overhang: 987mm
Rear overhang: 775mm

2019 Pininfarina H2 Speed Performance

The Pininfarina H2 Speed Evolves from Simple Concept to Full-Blown, Hydrogen-Powered Racecar Exterior
- image 772706
It can hit a maximum speed of 300 kph or about 186 mph, with the 62 mph sprint coming in 3.4 seconds.

The performance credentials are there, and they aren’t exactly something to shrug your shoulders at either. We’re talking about four electric motors that are good for 653 horsepower (480 kW) at 13,000 rpm. They get their power from a GreenGT hydrogen fuel cell that delivers a constant 250 kW. A braking regen system provides 2.4 kWh or 250 kW every 20 seconds of braking. The fuel cell itself has four stacks and holds as much as 8.6 kg or nearly 20 pounds of hydrogen at a time. It takes just 3 minutes to refill, which is one of the main things that makes the car feasible for track use.

So what does all of this mean?

Before we go into performance details, let’s talk about weight. Naturally, things like range and how fast the car can hit benchmarks all depend on how much it weighs. This baby tips the scale at 1,420kg or about 3,130 pounds. To put that into perspective, it weighs less than a four-cylinder Toyota Camry, which weighs between 3,200 and 3,300 pounds (V-6 comes in closer to 3,600 pounds.) Meanwhile, that weight is distributed with 41 percent to the front and 59 percent to the rear.

With that in mind, you can probably agree that its performance figures are quite impressive. It can hit a maximum speed of 300 kph or about 186 mph, with the 62 mph sprint coming in 3.4 seconds. Charging from a dead stance to 400 meters takes just 11 seconds. Best of all, it does so by emitting nothing by oxygen and water from the exhaust system – it’s 100% green when in use.

2019 Pininfarina Price and Availability

The Pininfarina H2 Speed Evolves from Simple Concept to Full-Blown, Hydrogen-Powered Racecar Exterior
- image 772703
Pininfarina will only produce a total of 12 examples, so they won’t exactly be easy to come by

As of now, there’s no word as to when the car will go into production or will actually see order books open. But, Pininfarina will only produce a total of 12 examples, so they won’t exactly be easy to come by. Use of the track-bred car will be limited, and Pininfarina says future owners will have the opportunity to “enjoy their cars with its unique handling and powertrain characteristics in selected track days around the world.” So, future owners probably won’t get to spend that much time behind the wheel anyway.

Pricing as of now is a complete mystery, but you can expect to pony up a small fortune if you’re one of the fortunate few that are able to actually follow through with buying one. For the rest of us, the H2 Speed will remain nothing more than a fantasy.

We’ll be putting together an in-depth review of the 2018 Pininfarina H2 Speed in the very new future, but until then, you can check out our review of the 2016 H2 Speed Concept.

References

2016 Pininfarina H2 Speed High Resolution Exterior
- image 667908

Read our full review on the 2016 Pininfarina H2 Speed Concept.

no article
- image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

no article
- image 772756

Read more Pininfarina news.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: