By on January 4, 2018

Hyundai FCV

Despite the inherent challenges with using hydrogen as a fuel source, Hyundai is plowing ahead with a new generation of fuel cell vehicle as a follow up to the Tucson Fuel Cell it currently offers in limited markets.

Difference is, the current hydrogen-powered Tucson shares a lot of sheetmetal with the traditionally fuelled Tucson. The new, as yet unnamed, hydrogen crossover doesn’t look like anything in Hyundai’s portfolio … at least not yet.

It’s not unrealistic to suspect the machine shown here may be a harbinger of future Hyundai design philosophy, given the company has said it is “near-production” ready. The Hyundai FE Concept shown last year at Geneva looks remarkably similar.

Hyundai FCV

At Geneva, the company said the electrified FCV will boast a range of nearly 500 miles, more than double the range of the most long-legged electric cars and about a hundred miles ahead of Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell car. However, that 500 mile estimate is likely based on the notoriously optimistic European test cycle, so expect a real-world figure well south of that number. The alarmingly styled Toyota Mirai has an advertised range of 312 miles, for example.

It’s the latest salvo in Hyundai’s burgeoning effort to build eco-minded cars, such as the Ioniq line introduced to take on stalwarts like the Toyota Prius. The company also mentions “hydrogen-powered applications in the home,” alluding to some sort of technology that takes energy generated by the car and uses it to power one’s kitchen coffee pot. Nissan showed off this type of equipment while unveiling the new Leaf, except its solution used batteries and not hydrogen, of course.

Hyundai FCV

Not to be outdone by other manufacturers that are taking full advantage of the mobility buzzword, the new fuel cell crossover will get a raft of driver assistance tech, all of which Hyundai will fully disclose at CES next week. Dubbed the “Advanced Driver Assistance System,” it could be a preview of tech that’ll eventually filter down to workaday Hyundais as a rival to the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech.

Hyundai’s existing entrant in the hydrogen sandbox, the Tucson Fuel Cell, is offered on a 36-month lease at $499 per month with about $3,000 due at signing. Naturally, it’s only available in the few California locales where the hydrogen infrastructure exists to support the running of these machines. Expect this new car, whatever it’s going to be called, to mirror that level of availability.

Hyundai FCV

The press conference for Hyundai’s new Fuel Cell Vehicle will take place at 3:00 p.m. PST on Monday, January 8. You can find the livestream here.

[Images: Hyundai]

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13 Comments on “Hyundai Plans New Fuel Cell Vehicle for CES, But What’s This About Powering Your Home?...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’m baffled as to why automakers keep making these (and why states think they are at all useful.) Forget the sparse delivery infrastructure; there’s simply no economical way to produce the Hydrogen. The least-costly way involves cracking it away from Natural Gas, which isn’t exactly a solution to Fossil Fuel dependence. Deriving it via electrolysis of water is fantastically energy-inefficient, and only makes sense if you have oodles of spare environmentally-friendly electrical capacity that no other practical use can be found for.

    EV’s had (and to a large extent still have) cost issues, but the cost and availability of the energy source itself isn’t one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Hey – the power for the electrolysis might come from all those decommissioned coal plants. Might make the entire hydrogen vehicle package almost as clean as a VW diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Well, there was a guy named Anyos Jedlik and his electric car back in 1828 and then this thing called the GM EV1 a few years ago. Look where that technology was then and where it is now. Manufacturers don’t usually pour millions of dollars into R&D after they found out something is a viable mode of transportation just to let it fall to the way side. If they build the vehicles, then they are also going to at least assist in building the fuel system infrastructure to power their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “If they build the vehicles, then they are also going to at least assist in building the fuel system infrastructure to power their vehicles.”

        Only Tesla has done this, for the most part. The other EV charging protocols have all been privately built in helter-skelter fashion, but at least it’s not very expensive.

        None of the FCV mfrs has offered to help build out the pricey hydrogen infrastructure, and IIRC Toyota said they’re relying on the states to pony up the dollars. Predictably, there remains virtually no hydrogen infrastructure.

        The FCV flop has preceded Toyota’s recent announcement that it will finally build EVs in the future, after throwing shade on them for years.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        The primary issue with Hydrogen-powered cars isn’t technology development. That can be fixed. The problem isn’t hydrogen infrastructure; with capital investment, that can be fixed.

        The primary issue is the fuel generation. There’s no magic wand that can be waved to separate Hydrogen from water more efficiently. There’s no mystical way to compress it that won’t cause substantial energy loss.

        There’s efficient ways to derive Hydrogen from Natural Gas, but at that point, you might as well just burn the gas instead of cracking it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      “EV’s had (and to a large extent still have) cost issues, but the cost and availability of the energy source itself isn’t one of them.”

      Making batteries efficient and cost effective is definitely a major concern now, and has been for decades, actually since the late 1800’s. The source of charging is a concern in many places, along with the time it takes to charge a battery to 100% cap and be able to reach a charging station again, or reach your destination.

      It is all in a learning stage, and we are seeing progress.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      They are preparing for a future when clean renewables are producing power the grid isn’t demanding. That electricity has zero marginal cost and can be harnessed for electrolysis. In that scenario hydrogen is quite cheap, though I question whether putting it into a passenger car is the best use.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Making hydrogen at off peak hours, can make sense if you assume “constant” output power stations like nuke plants being dimensioned for peak loads.

      Japanese yoot, all three of them, also insist many of the inefficiencies currently observed versus batteries, are simply due to hydrogen stacks’ currently much lover levels of development and refinement. Meaning, we are much further from hard limits with H2, than with traditional batteries. Which is exactly the thing that gets engineers with long time horizons excited. The latter being a big selling point for the likes of Toyota, who specifically pride themselves on taking the long view, rather than blindly following the latest fads.

      • 0 avatar
        TDIandThen....

        Well said Stuki, except I don’t think you phrased that simply. :)

        Hydrogen would be well-served if they started marketing themselves as a battery technology. For example, hydrogen FC cars are basically EVs with a 3-minute recharge and near-gasoline ranges. Toyota Hyundai and Honda are not stupid, they are global companies which understand both energy and market dynamics. If OP doesn’t see the logic, he could think on it some more.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      We have that future already, it’s in the nuclear overnight excess capacity in the US and in the (much greater) overnight hydropower capacity in Canada. Transmission tech has come a long way in the past 40 years meaning those carbon-free electrons can get to places all over the US at very affordable rates if the US would modernize its grid rather than wasting money on subsidies for (richer) homeowners.

      Hydrogen manufacture and supply from massive hydropower dams was part of the original 1950s vision of Hydro-Quebec and PowerCorp here in Quebec. Because of a number of factors including cheap fossil-energy sources, the retail hydrogen market has not yet materialized.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “The company also mentions “hydrogen-powered applications in the home,” alluding to some sort of technology that takes energy generated by the car and uses it to power one’s kitchen coffee pot. Nissan showed off this type of equipment while unveiling the new Leaf, except its solution used batteries and not hydrogen, of course.”

    Ooooo, an electric car can be equipped to divert its electric power away from the wheel motor and over to…anything else that uses electricity!

    Seriously, Prius drivers figured this out years ago. It’s a great generator for during a power outage. It runs on demand to fill up its battery then shuts off while the battery slowly depletes, then runs itself again to fill the battery back up.

    And even better, you drive it to the gas station, fill it with 12 gallons of gas, then drive it home. No more lugging gas around and transferring it from the can to the generator.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    “more than double the range of the most long-legged electric cars”

    “about a hundred miles ahead of Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell car.”

    So which is it? A fuel cell car is an electric. The only significant difference from a battery electric is the source of the electricity.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      To many, “electric” means you fill kit up with electricity. Gas means you fill it up with gas, regardless of how that gas gets converted into motion. Ditto diesel or H2. Diesel-electric locomotives, submarines and harbor tugs are referred to as diesel powered, for example….

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