Hyundai’s been a leader in the development of hydrogen vehicles, but now it’s looking to expand that role. The South Korean automaker showed off its plans to implement the technology in its Hydrogen Wave presentation online.
The company was an early player in the hydrogen segment, introducing its first hydrogen vehicle for sales, the Hyundai Tucson, in 2013. At that time, it followed the Honda FCX Clarity and Toyota Mirai as the only retail models available in the U.S.
Since then, the company’s diligently working to improve and expand its fuel-cell technology. The Nexo, which was introduced in 2018, benefits from the second generation of the company’s fuel-cell powertrain. It’s smaller, more powerful and more durable than its predecessor — and less costly to develop.
Hyundai revealed it plans to introduce the next version of the fuel cell tech in 2023. Again, further reducing size while increasing output and durability. It will come in 100kW and 200kW variations with costs being lowered by more than 50%, total package volume reduced by 30% and power output doubled, the company said.
Expanding the impact of fuel cells
Hyundai officials spoke frequently about what they called a “hydrogen society.” In essence, this concept means hydrogen plays a massive role in keeping quality of life high while substantively reducing the impact everyday living has on climate change.
“There’s no question that hydrogen is one of the most powerful and pragmatic solutions for overcoming environmental challenges,” said Euisun Chung, chairman, Hyundai Motor Group. “However, it will take a large global community to foster a hydrogen society.”
Chung boiled it down into a simple mantra: Everyone, everything, everywhere. Hydrogen Vision 2040. For Hyundai, it means an accelerated roll out of hydrogen-powered vehicles of all types as well as developing ways to use the technology in other facets of our daily lives.
According to the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative of leading energy, transport, industry and investment companies, hydrogen energy will account for 18% of global energy demand by 2050, with a market size of $2.5 trillion. The popularization of hydrogen energy will also help cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 6 billion tons a year, while creating more than 30 million new jobs.
Being an automotive company, there is a way to grab attention of the car fans and show them the benefits of fuel-cell electric vehicles: the Vision FK, a rear-wheel drive hydrogen-powered sports car. The fuel-cell hybrid puts out 500 kW, or about 670 horsepower, racing from 0 to 62 mph less than 4 seconds, said Albert Biermann, president and head of R&D division for Hyundai. He noted it has a range of 600 kilometers, or about 372 miles.
He said the years of development on the brand’s N cars and in racing laid the groundwork for the the Vision FK. “It is a bit of technical overkill, but it is an exciting challenge for our ambitious engineers,” he added.