Volkswagen has joined the hydrogen fuel cell movement, with new technology developed entirely in-house and a promise to make its Golf the first vehicle ever to be offered in all available power trains — gas, diesel, electric and now hydrogen.

The "research" vehicle — more than a concept, but not quite a production vehicle yet — is a full-sized SportWagen, losing some interior space for the fuel tanks.

It has an estimated range of 310 miles, and, like a gas car, can be refueled in under five minutes. Like other hydrogen vehicles, it emits only water vapor from its tailpipe. It uses an electric motor based on the one currently powering the company's e-Golf, and a lithium battery to support the hydrogen fuel cell and other components.

Sibling company Audi will be presenting the same fuel cell technology in a new A7 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, VW said.

However, the company cautioned, no one should get excited about driving a SportWagen HyMotion anytime soon.

"Before the market launch," VW said, "a hydrogen infrastructure would have to be created: Not only a broad network of hydrogen fuel stations, but also the production of the hydrogen itself."

That could take awhile. There are fewer than a dozen hydrogen stations in Southern California, which boasts the most substantial hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S.

Volkswagen also released pricing for its 292-horsepower Golf R.

A "well-equipped" Golf R starts at $37,415, the company said, while a "technology-rich" Golf R will run $39,910.

The top-of-the-line model features launch control, which will help the sporty VW get from zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds and make a top speed of 155 mph.


©2014 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC