Hyundai has teased a near production ready version of its next-generation fuel cell SUV in Seoul ahead of its official debut next year.

HYUNDAI IS PUSHING hard with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, teasing its just-about-ready-for-production fuel cell SUV in Seoul overnight. The new vehicle which doesn’t have a name yet, says the car maker, “embodies Hyundai Motor’s commitment to a new era for advanced eco-friendly vehicle development”. Hyundai launched its first fuel cell vehicle back in 2013.

Locally, Hyundai was the first car company to permanently import a fuel cell electric vehicle, the ix35 Fuel Cell, and has agreed to supply 20 FE’s to the ACT Government in late 2018 as part of the Hornsdale Windfarm Stage 3 project.

According to Hyundai, this new fuel cell SUV was developed on four key pillars that focus on fuel cell system efficiency, performance (maximum output), durability, and tank storage density.

Compared to its predecessor, this new fuel cell SUV boasts an efficiency level of 60%, or a 9% increase from the ix35’s 55.3%. The new model targets a driving range of more than 580km on a single charge (based on Korean testing standards). Maximum output is up 20% to 119kW and testing has confirmed the new fuel cell SUV can be started at -30 degrees Celsius. And Hyundai says the new car is durable, “By employing highly durable catalyst technology, the new hydrogen-powered SUV ensures even greater longevity than its predecessor”. And there have been tweaks made to the hydrogen storage tanks which have been split into three of equal size, up from two of unequal size. “World-class tank gravimetric capacity (hydrogen storage mass per tank weight) was achieved through innovations to the plastic liner configuration and efficient layering pattern, which resulted in a reduction of thickness,” Hyundai said.

“With exceptional efficiency, serene styling, and uncompromised performance, our next generation fuel cell SUV is the true epitome of an eco-friendly vehicle of the future,” said Lee Ki-sang, Senior Vice President of Hyundai Motor Group’s Eco Technology Center. “Hyundai Motor will take lead in developing and producing green energy vehicles that would ultimately complement a near-zero emission society.”

Taking its lead from the FE Concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show this year, the new model “builds on the earlier concept’s design, taking an organic and flowing form, inspired by nature – namely water, the car’s only emission – with the clean design emphasizing its non-polluting nature”. Okay, it gets even more hippy in the description of the design, but we won’t go there.

Hyundai says it is working on the development of a front-engine, rear-drive fuel cell vehicle as well as a 4WD variant. And, it said, based on increasing demand for greener, more fuel-efficient vehicles it “aims to establish a lineup ranging from small EVs to large and luxurious Genesis-brand models. Hyundai Motor’s electric vehicle development will take place in multiple phases: 

  • Launch of EV version of the Kona compact SUV, with range of 390km in first half of 2018;
  • Launch of Genesis EV model in 2021; and
  • Launch of long-range EV, with 500km range after 2021.

Interestingly, Practical Motoring spied this fuel cell vehicle at Hyundai the other day when we collected our long-term i30 SR Premium. Turns out it was here for cold weather testing… see the pic below.

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