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Meet the hydrogen-electric supercar hell bent on redefining high speed

The Hyperion XP-1 is a culmination of cutting edge technology and promises 1,000 miles to a tank of hydrogen.

Hyperion XP-1 prototype
Gas? No, hydrogen.

Hyperion calls it an "educational tool." But the the XP-1 looks like something out of a sci-fi flick with its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

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 after showcasing the car on Wednesday. To be clear, this isn't some production car ready for purchase in a couple months. Rather, it's a prototype that shows what Hyperion is capable of.

"Prototype" comes with some baggage, as in, we don't have the finer details on how everything works. Nor do we know some basic specifications, but we can dig what Hyperion's throwing down right now. 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 partially 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.

"This is only the beginning," Angelo Kafantaris, Hyperion CEO, said. "The potential of this fuel is limitless and will revolutionize the energy sector."

The design. It's certainly it's 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. It's entirely unclear how the pointed front fascia will make its way past pedestrian safety standards, but right now, it looks like a retro-futuristic machine on steroids.

As mentioned, we don't have the juicy performance specs, but the XP-1 will allegedly do 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds and handle far better than an EV carrying hefty battery packs. We know it's all-wheel drive and has multiple electric motors to turn the hydrogen juice into zero-emissions power and, on a full tank, the Hyperion said the supercar will go 1,000 miles. Hell, that's better than a gasoline car in terms of trips to the fuel pump. And the supercar houses technology that makes topping the tank off with hydrogen mighty quick; a fill up should take five minutes, the company promised.

With a background in developing spaceflight tech for the commercial sector, Hyperion hopes the XP-1 takes its hydrogen dreams to the road. And if all goes according to plan, the supercar will enter production in the US in just two years.

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