Geneva 2017: Hyundai's Water-inspired FE Fuel Cell Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

For reasons unbeknownst to me, Hyundai Motors revealed its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week — showing continued commitment to the technology, despite the lack of infrastructure needed to make it truly viable. Dubbed the FE, or “Future Eco,” the company says the SUV alludes to its next phase of zero emission vehicles.

Sporting similar dimensions, the FE will likely replace the $50,000 Tucson Fuel Cell once it assumes its final form, because it cannot possibly go to market looking like this. Low profile whitewalls and oversized drug dealer rims rarely end up as from-the-factory hardware. However, there are some interesting off-kilter features that might stick around.

For those living in a dry climate with respiratory problems, the FE has an on-board air humidifier that recycles the hydrogen fuel cell’s water-only emissions and makes for a more-enjoyable breathing experience. Hyundai also included portable battery packs and a charging/storage space for an electric scooter. Of course, it called this a “mobility solution” to “match future lifestyles,” which almost forces me to file it under the pure hype category.

A trunk-mounted scooter isn’t entirely out of the question, though. Japan was cramming tiny Motocompo two-wheelers into the back of the Honda City in the 1980s, so there is no reason why Hyundai couldn’t toss an adorable electric pocket bike into the back of a much larger vehicle.

The company claims the FE’s hydrogen technology is 20 percent lighter, 10 percent more efficient, and provides 30 percent more power density than the current Tucson ix35 fuel cell stack — allowing for a range of 497 miles between fill-ups. While there is no word on dynamic performance, it’s safe to assume an attempt was made to improve the hydrogen-fuelled Tucson’s 12-second zero-to-60 time.

The SUV that Hyundai says the Future Eco heralds is set for launch in 2018 and the company says it’s working on releasing at least 14 new environmentally-focused models by 2020.

[Images: Hyundai Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Carguy949 You point out that Rivian and Tesla lack hybrids to “bring home the bacon”, but I would clarify that Tesla currently makes a profit while Rivian doesn’t.
  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.
  • Cprescott The Ford Shamaro is ugly, thick bodied, and a Mustang pretender.
  • Analoggrotto Speaking of mud, does anyone here enjoy naked mud wrestling?