10 Fun Facts About The Hydrogen powered Hyperion XP-1 – TopSpeed




10 Fun Facts About The Hydrogen powered Hyperion XP-1 – TopSpeed.


With the calendar turned to 2024 now, the XP-1, Hyperion’s stalled hypercar project, could be back in focus. Here are some of its interesting facts.


In a bid to bring an end to reliance on polluting fossil fuels and cut down tailpipe carbon emissions, automakers are experimenting with various new types of energy sources, from high-capacity batteries to hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Only high-capacity battery technology has made the cut so far in reaching mass production. At some companies, work is on to think beyond battery-powered electric cars and take an even cleaner path to carbon neutrality with hydrogen technologies.


Hyperion, a startup headquartered in California, plans to launch a futuristic hypercar that’s radical in terms of both design and propulsion technology. Called Hyperion XP-1, this hypercar runs on hydrogen and is in many ways better than battery-powered zero-emission hypercars like the Rimac Nevera that set 23 world records in a single day in 2023, the Pininfarina Battista, and the Lotus Evija.


Established companies like Toyota, BMW, and Hyundai, which already offer or plan to launch hydrogen cars in the future, have taken a multi-prong approach to zero-emission vehicles. For these companies, battery electric technology is the top priority. Hyperion, however, develops only hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure. Here are some fun facts about the XP-1, the company’s hydrogen-powered hypercar:


It Features A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powertrain


Some automakers have begun development of a new type of hydrogen vehicle, one with an internal combustion engine. The Hyperion XP-1, on the other hand, features a hydrogen fuel cell system, which is a relatively proven technology.


The Hyperion XP-1’s fuel cell system passes hydrogen fuel stored in tanks and oxygen from the air through a fuel cell stack. The chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen generates electricity, and the only by-product of this process is water vapor.


Hyperion has equipped the XP-1 with aero blades that contain solar panels and move in the direction of the sun. The solar panels power the car’s electronics, Supercar Blondie presenter, Alexandra Mary Hirschi, said in her video featuring the XP-1. Thus, the solar panels have no connection with the car’s powertrain. Solar-powered cars are still a distant dream because, among other reasons, they are too expensive, as seen in Lightyear 0’s case.


It Has A NASA Connection


Developed over nearly a decade, the XP-1 incorporates NASA technology, Hyperion said when it introduced the car in August 2020. The company says it works on spaceflight technology pioneered by NASA and uses the same in XP-1, which is one of its various commercial applications. The company cites high-tech hydrogen systems and high-performance materials as examples of the same but only goes into little detail.


Was NASA Involved In The Development? – CEO Explains


Speaking to Robb Report in 2020, Hyperion CEO, Angelo Kafantaris, explained what the company meant when it said the XP-1 features NASA technology. He said that the company developed key technologies for the car with NASA veterans and cited the wings containing solar panels as an example. His words indicated that, unlike what the press announcement suggested, neither NASA nor any of its proprietary technologies had involvement in this hypercar project.


The XP-1 Weighs Just Over 2,000 Pounds


One of the key benefits of hydrogen-powered cars over BEVs is that they are significantly lighter. Australian automotive cooperative Capricorn claims the Hyperion XP-1 weighs just over 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds). In comparison, the Rimac Nevera tips the scale at 2,300 kilograms (5,071 pounds).


What Makes XP-1 Extremely Light?


Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) typically don’t have a lot of high-capacity batteries like BEVs. According to Capricorn, the XP-1, unlike a typical hydrogen FCEV, has supercapacitors instead of batteries. Hyperion has made use of ultra-lightweight materials like carbon-fiber and titanium for the monocoque chassis of the XP-1.


Lightweight construction typically gives a car better handling and lets you have more driving pleasure. Lower weight also means quicker braking, which will instill more confidence in you during dynamic driving. Hypercars can’t replace daily commuters for obvious reasons. Still, with the available weight at disposal, companies can freely load them with comfort and convenience features to make them as practical and enjoyable in normal use as possible. Hyperion equips the XP-1 with a glass canopy and a gigantic, 100-inch touchscreen infotainment system.


It Can Sprint To 60 mph From A Standstill In Around Two Seconds


The Hyperion XP-1 sports not one but four electric motors, and these are no ordinary motors but futuristic axial-flux motors, which are significantly lighter and smaller than conventional motors. Thanks to its quad-motor powertrain, which produces a colossal 2,038 horsepower, the XP-1 is blisteringly quick. It has a 0-60 MPH acceleration time of just 2.2 seconds, which puts it in the league of the world’s quickest cars. For a hydrogen car, especially, that’s quite an achievement.


It Is As Quick As A Few Production Vehicles


Accelerating from a standstill to 60 MPH in close to two seconds was a big feat when Hyperion introduced the XP-1 in the summer of 2020. A year later, Tesla made that kind of straight-line performance accessible to the masses with the Tesla Model S Plaid. The battery-powered electric sedan takes just 1.99 seconds (with rollout subtracted) to reach from 0 to 60 MPH, and it costs just $89,990, not millions of dollars like a hypercar.


If you’re a customer who settles for nothing but crème de la crème, there are better options. The Rimac Nevera is way quicker than the Hyperion XP-1, with a 0-60 MPH sprint taking just 1.74 seconds (with a one-foot rollout subtracted). Its Italian sibling, the Pininfarina Battista, officially achieved the same acceleration in just 1.79 seconds at the Dubai Autodrome in November 2022!


The XP-1 Is Capable Of Touching Speeds Of Over 200 MPH


The novelty doesn’t fade off when you hit 60 MPH, as the Hyperion XP-1 can keep the excitement on for much longer. The hypercar has a claimed top speed of over 220 MPH! That’s a remarkable level of performance for a hydrogen car.


Again, as much as the performance of the Hyperion XP-1 sounds impressive from a hydrogen car perspective, it’s not the best out there in the segment. The aforementioned Croatian and Italian twins, limited to 150 units each, deliver far better performance in the top-speed aspect as well. The Rimac Nevera, which ranks no.1 on the list of the world’s fastest electric cars, can achieve a top speed of 258 MPH, while the Pininfarina Battista maxes out at 217 MPH. The “For The Drivers” Lotus Evija, which offers even more exclusivity with a sales restriction of 130 units, is capable of 218 MPH.


A Range Of 1,000 Miles


One of the most crucial advantages of hydrogen FCEVs over BEVs is a significantly higher driving range. They’re considerably lighter, so they can extract much more driving range from their energy source. Battery-powered hypercars lag far behind.


The Hyperion XP-1’s most laudable capability is its driving range – 1,000 miles. Of course, that’s only a target at this point, but if Hyperion manages to achieve that in the production version, it’ll be a major breakthrough in the ZEV space. In that case, you’ll be able to drive it from Los Angeles to San Francisco and come back without a refueling stop and still have enough range left to cover your daily commutes for a week.


No BEVs Can Match It… For Now


The Rimac Nevera has an EPA-est. range of 305 miles, and its platform-mate, the Pininfarina Battista, is close, with 300 miles. The Lotus Evija is way more disappointing, with a range of 250 miles (as per the WLTP Cycle).


It Can Be Refueled Quickly


Hydrogen FCEVs give you a refueling experience similar to fossil-fuel-powered ICE vehicles. The Hyperion XP-1 takes just three to five minutes for refueling, which is close to pumping up the gas tank of a conventional hypercar.


It’s Not All Roses


There is an issue with the practicality of the Hyperion XP-1, though, and it’s a big one – finding a nearby hydrogen fuel station. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 59 hydrogen fuel stations in the country, 58 in California and one in Hawaii. As a solution for its super-rich clients, Hyperion has launched Hyper:Fuel Mobile Stations that can refuel hydrogen FCEVs and also recharge BEVs. To add fuel to the fire (pun intended), Shell announced it is closing all its seven hydrogen stations in California.


BEV Rivals Have Their Own Trade-off


Apart from low range, BEVs have the drawback of a long wait time to replenish their energy source. Their batteries take several hours for a full charging session with an AC charger. With a DC charger, you can reach from zero to 80-percent SoC in under half an hour. The Rimac Nevera’s batteries, which have a high operating voltage of 730 volts, take 22 minutes for the same. The Pininfarina Battista’s batteries take close to 22.5 minutes for a 20- to 80-percent charging session using a DC charger.


It Will Be Made In The U.S.


Hyperion plans to manufacture the XP-1 in the U.S., but the company hasn’t clearly stated where exactly. It has an R&D facility in Orange, California, where it does large-scale prototyping of automotive, energy, and aerospace products and a manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ohio, which it says is an “epicenter for all stationary and mobile power-systems.”


The Ohio production site will roll out the XP-1’s fuel cell stack, which will measure roughly the size of an internal combustion engine of a car but have a flat and approximately nine inches high build, The Columbus Dispatch stated in a report on February 1, 2022. One day earlier, Kafantaris had said in a conference that Hyperion plans to manufacture “the majority” of the hydrogen hypercar there, but it will conduct the car’s assembly elsewhere, as per the report.




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