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

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Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin Rapide S

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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.

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