The future of vehicle powertrains is widely believed to be a competition between two new technologies: electric batteries and electricity from hydrogen fuel cells.
Hyundai has long been a supporter of the latter, with its IONIQ fuel cell vehicle. However, it has now unveiled a new concept vehicle at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show firmly in support of hydrogen: the FE Fuel Cell Concept. The FE Fuel Cell represents Hyundai’s next step toward reaching a zero-emission hydrogen-powered society, and more specifically moving forward the company’s eco-vehicle program, which promises 14 or more environmentally friendly models by 2020.
The FE Fuel Cell Concept is designed with the flowing nature of water in mind, inspired by hydrogen fuel cell vehicles’ only emission—liquid water. On the outside, this means a minimalist design, with a rear air foil and integrated vents to provide aerodynamic efficiency. Inside, the FE Fuel Cell uses a unique climate control feature: an internal air humidifier that recycles water emitted from the vehicle’s powertrain. Its name, “FE,” stands for Future Eco, reflecting the new technology that complements the car’s ecology-mindedness.
It also showcases Hyundai’s next generation of fuel cells, its fourth since it began working on hydrogen propulsion technology. Compared to the current generation, which is employed on the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell, the FE’s powertrain is 20 percent lighter and 10 percent more efficient, with a 30 percent increased fuel cell stack density. Above all, the FE Fuel Cell is built to be green and capable. Dealing with the currently limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure, it has a range of 800 kilometers, or a touch under 500 miles.
The Concept also contains special features that emphasize maximizing the use of its eco-friendly powertrain. The most interesting of these is portable battery packs, charged using the vehicle’s energy, which can be used to power passengers’ devices. There is also an integrated storage and charging space for an electric scooter, although this feature is more symbolic of the company’s development of mobility solutions for future lifestyles.
Elements from the FE Fuel Cell Concept are slated to be included in an SUV model powered by a hydrogen fuel cell set for launch in 2018. Hyundai promises that the coming model will provide “extensive hydrogen-powered range.”
This article is presented by Gossett Hyundai South.