Hyundai Previews Longer-Range 2018 Hydrogen Fuel Cell SUV
Hyundai recently previewed a sleek, next-generation, fuel-cell-powered small SUV with increased driving range. The latest fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) from the Korean automaker, which will be named in January, replaces Hyundai’s Tucson ix35 FCEV that debuted in 2013 and has been seen on roads in Southern California. Launch in South Korea is expected in early 2018, followed by North America. The latest FCEV in Hyundai’s lineup heralds the automaker’s accelerated rollout of “green” vehicles as part of its new eco-vehicle program, according to a company statement.
This “green” small utility vehicle’s power is based on Hyundai’s fourth-generation hydrogen fuel-cell technology that emphasizes fuel-cell system efficiency, performance (output), durability, and improved tank storage. Efficiency is enhanced by 9% by reducing hydrogen consumption. Hyundai states that the new emission-free FCEV has a target driving range of 360 miles (580 km) on a single charge, based on Korean test standards. Performance output is boosted by 20% to 160 horsepower (163PS). Another plus is that the new FCEV now will cold-start even in sub-freezing temperatures, according to Hyundai.
Aerodynamic design enhancements in the architecture such as a tunnel inside the D-pillar and special low-drag wheels also boost efficiency. The new Hyundai FCEV bears striking styling cues to the automaker’s FE Concept shown at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show that emphasizes organic flowing lines. The interior is “minimalist” design with a wide dashboard that incorporates a large infotainment screen. The cabin’s seat design features eco-friendly woven fabric and suede accents in muted colors from nature.
Hyundai says it has reduced production costs for the new FCEV with new components such as the MEA (membrane electrode assembly) and bipolar plates. Hydrogen storage has been improved with a tank that is configured with three storage tanks of the same size. Advanced driver-assistance technologies featured in the new production FCEV will be revealed at next January’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, or CES.
Currently, Hyundai’s U.S. lineup includes the Ioniq, with a choice of three electrified powertrains. It will add an electric Kona small SUV late next year as well as new EVs in the premium Genesis brand line in 2021.
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