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Technology company with Warren native at helm creates new supercar

XP-1, is hydrogen / electric powered

Angelo Kafantaris isn’t an automaker. And Hyperion isn’t a car company. Yet, the southern California-based outfit led by the Warren native has debuted the XP-1, its hydrogen / electric-powered supercar.

A bit peculiar, but appropriate given his vision for the tech company.

The car the company touts has a 1,000-mile range, can go 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds with a top speed of 220 mph and has zero emissions is the vehicle Kafantaris and Hyperion will use to spread a greater message: the benefits of hydrogen-based power.

THE JOURNEY

The journey started in 2011 in Columbus with the conviction to fill a gap in the green energy sector — hydrogen power and delivery — with a focus on hydrogen charging stations, thinking, Kafantaris said, an automaker would facilitate bringing a hydrogen fuel cell car to market.

By 2015, Hyperion had set its sights on building its own vehicle “to really tell the story of why hydrogen,” and moved the operation to Orange, Calif., to begin the automotive division.

“That was what we felt was necessary to tell that story. In that story, the main building blocks of that story, is the great things that hydrogen can do representative in this car, starting of course, with this amazing range,” Kafantaris said.

Hyperion planned to debut the car publicly in April at the New York International Auto Show, but the viral outbreak caused organizers of the exhibition to scrap this year’s event, so Hyperion did the next best thing — unveiled the prototype online, the culmination of 10 years of development, testing and research into hydrogen technology.

THE CAR

The 1,000-mile range screams the “potential of this technology” and obliterates range anxiety, the fear an electric vehicle’s battery doesn’t have enough charge to get to where it needs to go. It’s like running out of gas without a station in sight.

The XP-1 stores electric energy in fuel cell systems, not lithium ion batteries found in other electric vehicles, reducing its weight and the recharge time to less than five minutes, and extends battery life.

Its construction utilizes some of the most advanced technology in the world, including spaceflight technology from NASA to use in commercial applications. The XP-1 has titanium reinforced composite bodywork and carbon titanium monocoque, meaning the body is integral with the chassis.

It weighs about 2,275 pounds.

The interior contains a 98-inch screen, touch-free gesture control for the center console and 134-inch wrap-around glass canopy with privacy tint control. And, the XP-1 has v-wing doors.

Production is set for 2022. Three hundred will be made initially.

“We built this car to tell a story,” Kafantaris, 36, said. “The first chapter is why hydrogen, why it is so exciting. The next chapter is how we make this happen. The third and forthcoming chapters are all the different ways we can put hydrogen in other types of products, especially in aerospace.”

It’s cost will be announced later, but will be comparable to other vehicles in its class.

“Dollar for dollar, you’ll never be able to buy a more advanced piece of automotive technology for what we are going to sell it for,” Kafantaris said. “It still means it’s going to be high cost. You’re basically buying a spaceship here with this vehicle, like aerospace construction.”

Kafantaris said the car will be built in the U.S., preferably in the Midwest. The company looked for a site in three states and has a site selected, but is not ready to announce where just yet. The space is less a space to build 300 vehicles and more “a space to build our entire product line over the next 25 to 30 years.”

It will house vehicle manufacturing, which Kafantaris sees expanding to wider consumer vehicles, charging stations and aerospace applications.

UP NEXT

The XP-1 was made to take Hyperion to its final destination — revolutionizing the transportation industry through hydrogen.

The company’s major focus is on hydrogen fuel stations. It has a plan in place to connect the U.S. coast to coast with stations that would cheaply sell the fuel that Kafantaris said is “the most efficient and low cost way to get around.”

It’s a continuation of the story Hyperion is telling, “from why hydrogen to how hydrogen,” Kafantaris said.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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