Hyundai readies next-gen fuel cell SUV

Yet unnamed SUV true to proportions of FE Concept, may continue as Tucson

Published: August 17, 2017, 10:30 PM
Updated: August 21, 2017, 3:07 AM

Hyundai next-gen FCEV

Hyundai next-gen FCEV rear

Having enjoyed success with its Tucson fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) for over a decade, Hyundai is ready to move onto the next generation, showing it off at a special ceremony in Seoul. The vehicle is slated for public introduction in 2018.

“With exceptional efficiency, serene styling, and uncompromised performance, our next generation fuel cell SUV is the true epitome of an eco-friendly vehicle of the future,” said Lee Ki-sang, Senior Vice President of Hyundai Motor Group’s Eco Technology Center. “Hyundai Motor will take the lead in developing and producing green energy vehicles that would ultimately complement a near-zero emission society.”

The yet unnamed SUV will benefit from new hydrogen fuel-cell technology (the fourth generation of Hyundai’s system) that continues Hyundai’s 4-pillar philosophy — fuel cell system efficiency, maximum output, durability, and tank storage density

Hyundai ix35 Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle

Fuel cell system efficiency was improved through fuel cell performance, reducing hydrogen usage and optimising key components. The company says the new FCEV improves its efficiency level over the Tucson FCEV by 9%, and boasts a driving range of more than 580 km.

Performance (maximum output) is enhanced by 20%, boosting horsepower to 161, while cold starting has been improved to -30 degrees Celsius, meaning it may become a viable purchase consideration for Canadian environment-conscious drivers.

Durability was addressed using high durability catalyst technology, which has been tested for greater longevity.

Hyundai FE Concept

Finally, the new FCEV improves tank storage density, using three tanks of equal size (compared to the previous generations of two tanks of different sizes), while innovations in the plastic liner and changes to the layering pattern allowed for a reduction in thickness, with the overall result of improved hydrogen storage mass per tank weight (otherwise known as gravimetric capacity).

Slated to have its formal unveiling and Christening at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, the vehicle is reportedly stocked with advanced driving assist technologies to go with its striking design cues (from the FE Concept introduced at this past spring’s Geneva Motor Show), to convey a minimalist high-tech look that is aerodynamically efficient with cues such as flush-mounted door handles and 5-spoke turbine-like wheels.

The ultramodern interior is equally minimalist, with subdued colours that comes across as both understated and sophisticated in its blend of woven fabrics and suede.