Hyundai Motor has offered an early glimpse of its next-generation fuel-cell vehicle, ahead of the hydrogen-powered SUV’s official launch in January next year. At a special preview event held in Seoul, the near-production-ready version exhibited its impressive capabilities while revealing its futuristic design. The yet-to-be-named model embodies Hyundai’s commitment to a new era for advanced eco-friendly vehicle development.
The upcoming SUV shown at the event previews Hyundai Motor’s second commercially produced hydrogen model and uses the company’s fourth generation of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The vehicle, its capabilities and fuel-cell technologies are an evolution of Hyundai Motor’s global research, development and real-world evaluation programs. The new vehicle reinforces the company’s leadership in fuel cell-based electric powertrain systems, created with expertise honed through the world’s first commercial production of a fuel-cell vehicle in 2013.
The latest fuel-cell model was developed on four key pillars that focus on fuel cell system efficiency, performance (maximum output), durability, and tank storage density.
By enhancing fuel-cell performance, reducing hydrogen consumption and optimising key components, the efficiency of the vehicle’s fuel-cell system is greatly improved compared to its predecessor, the ix35 Fuel Cell (Tucson Fuel Cell in some markets). The new SUV boasts an efficiency level of 60%, or a 9% increase from the ix35’s 55.3%. With enhanced system efficiency, the new model targets a driving range of 800km on a single charge (based on New European Driving Cycle standards).
The new model’s maximum output is enhanced by 20% compared to its predecessor, boasting an impressive 163bhp of power. The fuel-cell SUV also improves the car’s cold-start capability, overcoming the challenges of starting fuel-cell vehicles in temperatures below freezing point. The vehicle’s architecture is optimised to allow it to be started at -30 deg C, by incorporating key components in the fuel stack developed by Hyundai Motor. In addition to boosting the new car’s capabilities, the enhanced components – such as the membrane electrode assembly and bipolar plates – also helped to reduce production costs.
By employing highly durable catalyst technology, the new hydrogen-powered SUV ensures even greater longevity than its predecessor.
The next-generation Hyundai hydrogen vehicle makes significant improvements in tank storage density. The tank package now features three equally sized tanks, as opposed to two of different sizes. 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.
The mass-produced new vehicle will also feature advanced driver assistance technologies, alongside its extensive hydrogen-powered range. The details of the new ADAS features will be disclosed in January 2018, along with the official model name.
Check out the earlier, more exotic form of this next-gen Hyundai fuel-cell SUV.