Hydrogen-Powered Aston Martin Rapide To Hit The Track In 2013

Follow Antony

Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin Rapide S

Enlarge Photo

Fuel cells aren't the only way to use hydrogen as a fuel in vehicles--burning it works too.

That's exactly what Aston Martin will be doing at the Nurburgring 24-hour race later this year, when it fields a hydrogen-fueled version of its Rapide luxury sedan.

According to our sister site Motor Authority, the British sports car company will run the Rapide with the intention of turning the very first "race-pace zero emissions lap" at the fearsome German circuit.

Aston chairman Ulrich Bez says he sees the race car as more than just a technology statement.

As the maker of powerful, high-consumption vehicles, Aston Martin will increasingly look to alternative methods of propulsion in order to meet tighter emissions and fuel economy standards. While incongruous minicars like the Aston Martin Cygnet will go some way to meeting these targets, they can only do so much, and for so long.

Bez says that hydrogen hybrids may be the best way of meeting these targets. Rather than fuel cells driving electric motors, hydrogen as fuel would allow Aston Martin to retain its V-8 and V-12 internal combustion engines, the noise of which is an integral part of the cars' appeal.

Unfortunately, the 500-horsepower Rapide race car isn't as green as it seems on the surface, and will actually run on gasoline for most of the race.

In that respect, it's very much a technology statement--though could still prove the first step on a longer journey to cleaning up the company's vehicles.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Us

Comments (18)
  1. Is it just me or is the oil industry trying real hard to promote hydrogen, again? And come on a hydrogen hybrid, thats not innovation thats throwing out an anchor to slow progress. There's more of a promotion for combustion in this then an effort to advance the car. Plus Aston Martin is very desperate right now because they don't know what to do about new laws in autimotive efficiency. This has to be big oil, all the big super car builders are bringing out hybrid super cars yet some how little Aston Martin is playing with hydrogen. Smells fishy to me.

  2. Sorry automotive efficiency, not autimotive

  3. It is just you; the oil industry is not trying to promote hydrogen. The idea and use of hydrogen in combustion has been around long before the so-called, as you put it, "oil industry trying real hard to promote hydrogen".


  4. I wasn't concerned with how the hydrogen was used just all the news that companies are fooling around with hydrogen again.

  5. I see. That news was always there. Just not covered by your favorite news outlet.

    It even went grassroots.


  6. not sure i get you??
    so all these Hybrid EV and Fossil would NOT be any better changing over to Hydrogen??
    the very first "race-pace zero emissions lap" at the fearsome German circuit. shame they aint doing the whole race CLEANLY and hitting a REAL GOAL

  7. This is just an idiotic idea and has been tried in the past. Burning H2 in an ICE, increases the emission to very high levels because the flame temperature is much higher than with gasoline.
    I therefore fully agree with CD Speed that this is just another try from the oil companies to keep "fuels" as our main source for driving energy.

  8. Nope; you are incorrect. It is the opposite; temperatures decrease, emissions drop, air is cleaner.

    You are more than welcome to prove me wrong. Just do an actual test... and the winner is? ;)


  9. So, by burning the H2 instead of gasoline, we just made the fuel refilling process even more dangerous...

    For every step we take forward, we seem to take a half step backward...

  10. No "we" did not. The refueling/refilling process is more dangerous on the gasoline side. Always has been.

    This is akin to people making arguments against EV's saying, "You can be electrocuted!". No wait... you can be electrocuted. Run!!! ;)


  11. Hydrogen is far more explosive than gasoline vapor... Sure, there are better nozzle design and safety valves. But a small leak can be very dangerous.

    EVs are dangerous with high current and high voltage lines. That is why it require EMS to take special training classes. But that is NOT much different from your typical household electricity's danger level.

    Hydrogen is completely different...

  12. "But a small leak can be very dangerous."

    H2 rapidly fills the space that it goes into. This leads to an inability to ignite in an open area; i.e. atmosphere.

    H2's burn speed is vastly greater than gasoline vapor. However, burn speed is not where the potential danger lies. It lies with the inability to dissipate rapidly. H2 dissipates rapidly; gasoline does not.

    The H2 delivery systems vary from gas to liquid to solid... from pressurized to non-pressurized to on-demand.

    So under what scenario(s) are you proposing H2 is "very dangerous", more dangerous than gasoline?


  13. Obviously, it is NOT going to be liquid form for the use in the car. So, it would be compressed form.

    The danger part comes with H2 has one of the widest ignition range in mixture with O2. Most of the fuel has to be certain range in order to ignite. Too rich, it won't work, too lean, it won't work. But hydrogen can ignite over a wide range. That is why it is dangerous. You are right that H2 is lighter than air so it will quickly rise. But if it collects anywhere with almost any range of concentration, then it is dangerous.

  14. Well for starters, almost ALL H2 propositions for its use instead of petrol involve storing it in liquid form and therefore at vast pressures - 400 to 700BAR (10,000PSI). Any leak is therefore potentially extremely dangerous. Add the fact that an H2 flame is invisible and it's just a plain silly idea to even think of using it. As to other reasons not to use it - H2 is made from natural gas at only 70% efficiency and then burned (in this case) in an ICE at about 25% efficiency ... well you do the maths! Then there's the astronomical cost of the infrastructure. Thousands of large 700BAR storage tanks at all those new filling stations. Sorry, but it is never going to happen. Spend the R&D on something that has a chance of success.

  15. @Xiaolong Li

    "Obviously, it is NOT going to be liquid form for the use in the car. So, it would be compressed form."

    Really? Well, have it your way... you will be the one missing out on opportunities, but for the record, it can be a liquid for those in the know. [More than two known ways.]

    "But if it collects anywhere with almost any range of concentration, then it is dangerous."

    Oh, the big "if". "If" you store it as compressed gas... and, "If" it leaks... and, "If" the tank is placed in an area to cause "collection", which is in essence capture... and, "If" something ignites it, then it is dangerous. Okay, I see your Oz... and I raise you one JC.

    BTW, is that compressed form solid or gas, since you eliminated liquid.


  16. There are more comments in this thread
Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.