Hyundai un­cov­ers fuel-cell SUV

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

Hyundai has ripped the cov­ers off its next-generation hy­dro­gen fuel-cell-pow­ered SUV that will have a driv­ing range of 800 kilo­me­tres, more than 200km more than the model it re­places.

The high-rid­ing green ma­chine – which is yet to be named while Hyundai uses the in­ter­nal FE moniker for now – was re­vealed in pre-pro­duc­tion guise at an event in South Korea last week ahead of its roll-out early next year.

The com­pany con­firmed it had two left-hand-drive pro­to­types of the new SUV in Aus­tralia last month to un­dergo cold-weather test­ing, with en­gi­neers from South Korea val­i­dat­ing the car as part of global dura­bil­ity test­ing.

Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia has al­ready agreed to sup­ply the ACT gov­ern­ment with 20 ex­am­ples of the new hy­dro­gen SUV in late 2018 as part of the Horns­dale Wind­farm stage three project.

There is cur­rently one ix35 fuel cell in Aus­tralia that Hyundai uses to pro­mote its tech, and there is one hy­dro­gen re­fu­elling sta­tion in Aus­tralia based at Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia’s head­quar­ters in Mac­quarie Park, Syd­ney.

It is un­clear if Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia is plan­ning a wider roll-out of the new SUV in Aus­tralia beyond the 20 pur­chased by the ACT gov­ern­ment.

The FE uses Hyundai’s fourth-generation fuel-cell tech­nol­ogy and was de­vel­oped ac­cord­ing to four key pil- lars – ef­fi­ciency, per­for­mance, dura­bil­ity and tank stor­age den­sity – ac­cord­ing to the car-maker.

En­gi­neers have made tweaks to the fuel-cell sys­tem in a bid to im­prove fuel-cell per­for­mance and re­duce hy­dro­gen con­sump­tion, en­sur­ing the new model has an ef­fi­ciency level of 60 per­cent, which is a nine per­cent in­crease over the out­go­ing ix35 fuel cell.

The ma­jor changes to the sys­tem have also re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in driv­ing range, which is now up to about 800km on a sin­gle charge, ac­cord­ing to Euro­pean test­ing stan­dards, up from 594km in the ix35 fuel cell.

Power is up by 20 per­cent com­pared with the model it re­places, with 120kw on of­fer, while ‘highly durable cat­a­lyst tech­nol­ogy’ has meant the new SUV has greater longevity than the old one.

Hyundai says it has also im­proved the SUV’S cold start ca­pa­bil­ity – fu­el­cell ve­hi­cles have is­sues start­ing in be­low freez­ing tem­per­a­tures – with en­hanced com­po­nents such as MEA, mem­brane elec­trode as­sem­bly, and bipo­lar plates en­sur­ing it can still start even when the tem­per­a­ture is -30 de­grees Cel­sius.

Tank stor­age den­sity has also been given a boost, with three equally-sized tanks in the new SUV, re­plac­ing the two dif­fer­ent sized units in the ix35.

Hyundai says world-class tank gravi­met­ric ca­pac­ity – hy­dro­gen stor­age mass per tank weight – was achieved thanks to an in­no­va­tive plas­tic liner con­fig­u­ra­tion and ef­fi­cient lay­er­ing pat­tern, which also re­duced thick­ness.

The de­sign was pre­viewed by Hyundai’s FE Con­cept from this year’s Geneva mo­tor show, but loses the fu­tur­is­tic ele­ments such as barely there head­lights and pil­lar-less doors for the near-pro­duc­tion model.

It bor­rows the split head­light look of the forth­com­ing Kona cross­over, and Hyundai says the SUV builds on the con­cept’s de­sign that was in­spired by na­ture, specif­i­cally wa­ter, the ve­hi­cle’s only emis­sion.

Hyundai has fo­cused on aero­dy­nam­ics with the un­named SUV, with door han­dles that sit flush to the car, a wheel de­sign that aims for low drag air­flow and other ele­ments such as an air cur­tain and an air tun­nel in­side the D-pil­lar.

In­side, the SUV is fit­ted with in­dus­try lead­ing bio-ma­te­ri­als with ecofriendl­y cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. It has a clean and sim­ple de­sign with few but­tons and di­als to en­sure a min­i­mal look, while a pair of screens run side by side hous­ing the in­stru­ment clus­ter and in­fo­tain­ment con­trols.

The new SUV is one el­e­ment in Hyundai’s ‘eco-ve­hi­cle de­vel­op­ment roadmap’ that will see it in­tro­duce 31 eco-friendly mod­els to var­i­ous mar­kets by 2020.

Hyundai’s strat­egy is to cover all eco bases and of­fer full elec­tric, hy­brid, plug-in hy­brid and fuel-cell ve­hi­cles to its range over time.

Hyundai con­firmed the ex­pan­sion of its elec­tri­fied range of mod­els will in­clude an EV ver­sion of its Kona SUV for launch in the first half of 2018 that will of­fer a driv­ing range of 390km.

It will also in­clude a Ge­n­e­sis EV model in 2021 and an­other long-range EV with a 500km range beyond 2021.

The com­pany is also de­vel­op­ing a ded­i­cated ar­chi­tec­ture for its pure elec­tric ve­hi­cles, al­low­ing it to de­velop and pro­duce mul­ti­ple mod­els with longer driv­ing ranges.

The name of the new SUV, as well as de­tails re­lat­ing to the ad­vanced driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy, will be re­vealed at the CES tech show in Las Ve­gas in Jan­uary next year.

CELL MATE: The un­named SUV takes styling cues from the fu­tur­is­tic FE Fuel Cell con­cept that was re­vealed at this year’s Geneva mo­tor show.

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