Say the words hydrogen technology, and most people think of the H-bomb or perhaps the ill-fated Hindenburg.

But a far more environmentally friendly (and user friendly) application of the technology hit the streets earlier this summer - the world's first hydrogen-powered supercar.

Named Best Concept car at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, the curvaceous and futuristic Pininfarina H2 Speed looks like a vehicle Batman or James Bond might roll up in.

And its key features make it worthy of either larger-than-life character.

According to a glossy spread in Robb Report, the car goes from zero to 62 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds and is able to exceed 186 mph.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that because of its use of hydrogen-fuel-cell technology, the only byproduct of such awe inspiring, oh-sna, performance is pure water vapor.  That's right, with no environmentally harmful emissions, this is a truly eco-conscious car.

"This is more than a styling exercise, they've done something remarkable," says Robb Report's Robert Ross. "Pininfarina is exploring the outer limits of aerodynamics and bleeding edge technology. Most show cars focus on design and not so much on the technology that underpins that design."

The technology in this case is hydrogen and oxygen blended together to produce electricity, which powers the car, Ross explains. The car is equipped with two hydrogen stacks that deliver power to two electric motors that have a combined output of 503 horsepower.

Image placeholder title

To fully understand how such a powerful, visually stunning and technologically advanced vehicle came to be, one must be clear on who exactly is presenting the H2 Speed.

Pininfarina, an Italian design house, is the company behind countless Ferrari designs, as well as some Maseratis, Fiats, Alfa Romeos and Peugeots.

"They are responsible for some of the most cutting edge, beautiful and remarkable designs in the history of automobiles," says Ross. "Pininfarina was responsible for the vast majority of all Ferraris that have come to the street. They were the artist with the cocktail napkin."



Inspiration for the H2 Speed can be traced back to a racing car concept Pininfarina created in 1969 known as the Ferrari Sigma, an important grand prix Formula One design that exploited the limits of aerodynamics at the time. That model was was also quite beautiful.

The thread of continuity between the two vehicles, according to Ross, is their beauty and uniqueness.

"The H2 engages aesthetics, aerodynamics and technology -- it's all wrapped in one complete idea," says Ross.

Those intrigued by the vehicle may be wondering right about now how to get your hands on one. The answer to that question may unfortunately be a tad disappointing.

Image placeholder title

Described by the maker as something between a racing prototype and a production supercar, Pininfarina has said it hopes to build only about ten examples. The company has not yet released details on price or delivery.

What if you're not among the lucky ten on the planet who get one of the H2s produced?

All is not lost, says Ross.  You may just have to wait patiently for a manufacturer to come along and develop a version for the masses.

"Trickle down technology is something that's inevitable," Ross notes. "The technology we see on the track eventually finds its way onto the street. The real challenges are the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Motor Vehicles...But technologically, there's no question that in theory these benchmarks could be applied to future streetcars."

Oh, and one last hurdle worth noting, says Ross. While charging stations for electric powered vehicles seem to be popping up all over the country, when was the last time you noticed a hydrogen station around your neighborhood?

Probably never. And that's not likely to change quickly.

"The biggest challenge to the whole concept of hydrogen autos is not getting the cars themselves to work, but rather distributing the hydrogen," Ross points out. "We would need hydrogen stations. And that's not so simple. Although if an infrastructure were developed, this could be a very, very legitimate alternative."

So the wait for a sexy, supercar that emits nothing more than water vapor may require some patience. Perhaps Elon Musk or Richard Branson will be kind enough to add hydrogen vehicles for the masses to their to-do lists.