THE Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept has revealed the Korean carmaker’s potential replacement for the hydrogen-powered ix35 SUV that has pioneered the consumer-facing side of the technology.
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, and capable of travelling up to 800km between refills, the FE (Future Eco) Fuel Cell Concept showcases the fourth generation of Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The FE Fuel Cell Concept is 20 percent lighter than the ix35-based fuel cell vehicle, and achieves 10 percent greater efficiency. The power density of the fuel cell stack is increased by 30 percent, boosting range substantially over the third-generation technology.
The concept car includes an internal air humidifier that recycles water emitted by the car’s fuel cell – it combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity used to power the electric motor, and water – creating a more comfortable cabin environment. It also comes with portable battery packs – charged by the car’s energy output – to power passenger devices and an electric scooter stored in the boot.
The FE Fuel Cell Concept is part of the company’s eco-vehicle program that will roll out 14 or more environmentally focused models by 2020.
These include the newly launched Hyundai Ioniq, the first car to offer a choice of three electrified powertrains in a single body type, and an SUV-based fuel cell model set for launch in 2018.
While the driving range of fuel cell vehicles is making them more practical, Hyundai acknowledges there is a lack of hydrogen fuel infrastructure globally, but particularly in Australia.
The company is working with Toyota to jump-start the rollout of facilities here and push for government incentives for environmentally friendly vehicles.
Hyundai Australia fuel cell program leader Scott Nargar previously told Wheels the company’s work with its Japanese rival was critical to getting widespread recognition for hydrogen as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
“From a car manufacturer point of view we see hydrogen fuel cell as the ultimate goal – the range, the practicality, the refuelling time – we’re all used to going to a petrol station, filling up in three minutes then driving away and doing 600km. Fuel cell gives you the best comparison to petrol.”