Hyundai may have just sold us on hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars.
At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Hyundai revealed the FE Fuel Cell Concept, featuring a bold design and a hydrogen-powered range of nearly 500 miles. Now, the Korean automaker has unveiled a pre-production prototype of its still-unnamed fuel cell SUV, simply referred to as "Next Generation FCEV," giving us a clearer idea of what the final model will look when it goes on sale next year. And shock horror, it actually looks like a real-world car.
The styling is an evolution of the FE Fuel Cell Concept, but incorporates Hyundai’s new design language first seen on the stylish Kona crossover, featuring slim headlights situated over separate LED daytime running lights and fog lamps. According to Hyundai, the final production model will use fourth-generation fuel cell technology, enabling the still-unnamed SUV to run for 497 miles in one fill. It will have 167 horsepower on tap, representing a performance boost of 20 percent compared to its predecessor, the iX35 Fuel Cell. Hyundai also claims that the new SUV's drivetrain has an efficiency level of 60 percent, up by nine percent compared to the iX35.
It can also now operate at a minimum temperature of -30 degrees too, and Hyundai has implemented three tanks compared to two in the iX35, lined with walls that use plastic liner patterns to save weight and cut down production costs. Suddenly, all the reservations we had with hydrogen-powered cars have seemingly been rectified. The unnamed SUV is part of the company’s wider strategy to launch 31 eco-friendly models across Hyundai and Kia by 2020, starting with an all-electric Kona in 2018. An all-electric Genesis will launch in 2021, along with a Tesla-fighting EV from one of the brands with a 310-mile range after 2021.
As well as a hydrogen-powered range, Hyundai promises that the unnamed SUV will benefit from advanced driver assistance technologies which will be showcased at the CES Show in Las Vegas next January. We'll have to wait and see if it launches in the US.