The Hyperion XP-1 is the brainchild of 10 years of research between hundreds of engineers and scientists, with the Southern California firm hoping it will redefine what a supercar can be. To be clear, this isn’t some production car ready for purchase in a couple of months. Rather, it’s a prototype that shows what Hyperion is capable of.
The XP-1 boasts some sort of wild hydrogen storage that makes carrying hydrogen a cinch. Typically, the tanks are mighty bulky in today’s fuel-cell vehicles and this technology makes it a far grander masterpiece than any electric car, Hyperion thinks.
That’s partial because there’s no need for heavy batteries. The fuel cells store energy from the hydrogen, negating the need for batteries. The firm points out there’s no fear over battery degradation, long charging times or the recycling strings attached to batteries at the end of their useful life. The company has a point, but hydrogen fuel cells aren’t without their own hurdles. It sounds like Hyperion may have solutions, but it’s clearly not ready to talk specifics just yet.
The design. It’s certainly its own thing. While there’s some sort of supercar mashup going on, mostly between a Bugatti and Lotus Evija, there’s a particular rocket age aura surrounding the XP-1 and it looks like a retro-futuristic machine on steroids.
The hydrogen storage systems will be carbon fiber and will feed a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which will create electric power to drive all four wheels. There will be a 3-speed transmission, which is unusual in an electric car, but this will allow a blistering 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time under 2.2 seconds as well as a wild top speed in excess of 221 mph (356 km/h).
Frustratingly, there are no peak power figures as yet, but the company’s willingness to put out a curb weight figure of less than 2,275 lb (1,032 kg), which makes this thing a featherweight in the supercar or hypercar classes. The chassis will be a monocoque made from a carbon-titanium metal-composite matrix. The swoopy bodywork will be titanium-reinforced composite. The underbody diffuser will be Kevlar-reinforced composite. The XP-1 will run big carbon-ceramic brakes – although we wonder if they’ll get a chance to warm up given how powerful the regen system should be. Wheels are 21 inches at the front, 22 at the rear, with the option of carbon composites.