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VW looks towards the future with hydrogen-powered Golf, Passat

Volkswagen has traveled to the annual Los Angeles Motor Show to introduce the hydrogen-powered Golf SportWagen HyMotion, the first MQB-based vehicle equipped with a fuel cell.

Designed to preview a production-bound model, the Golf SportWagen HyMotion is powered by a 136-horsepower drivetrain that allows it to reach 62 mph from a stop in about 10 seconds while emitting only water vapor. The energy generated by the hydrogen-powered fuel cell is used to power an electric motor that is sourced from the all-electric e-Golf. Additionally, a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor stores the kinetic energy that is generated during braking and dispenses it when extra power is needed such as under heavy acceleration.

The four carbon fiber hydrogen tanks can be topped up in about three minutes. Providing a driving range of about 310 miles, they are located under the passenger compartment which allows the HyMotion to offer the same amount of passenger and trunk space as a standard gasoline- or diesel-powered Golf Variant.

Related: Hydrogen-powered BMW i3? 

Drivetrain aside, the Golf SportWagen HyMotion is essentially identical to the Golf Variant that is sold across Europe. The wagon is expected to replace the Jetta SportWagen in the United States in time for the 2016 model year.

In addition to the Golf SportWagen HyMotion, Volkswagen is currently testing a hydrogen-burning variant of the Passat that is equipped with the same drivetrain detailed above, and sister company Audi is experimenting with a hydrogen-powered A7. The automaker has not announced when its first full-production fuel cell vehicle is scheduled to hit the market but it has explained the world’s hydrogen infrastructure will need to be drastically improved before the project is given the green light for production.