Motoring

Hyundai leads hydrogen push with 671bhp fuel cell sports car

Hyundai also confirmed plans to use hydrogen powertrain technology in a motorsport application in the coming years. Speaking exclusively to Autocar at the Munich motor show, Schemera said: “How many hydrogen race series are there in the world? Zero. But maybe in four years things could be different.

“Motorsport is a very good method to prove your technology under extreme conditions. Motorsport can be the way to prove new technology and how reliable it is – and in terms of hydrogen that makes things interesting because not that many companies have it – and we believe our fuel cell technology is at the forefront.”

No date for the Vision FK’s production has yet been given, nor has Hyundai given an indication of such a system’s potential for a roll-out to other models. However, given that a prototype of an Ioniq 5 N was recently sighted, it’s clear that both battery and hydrogen power will be crucial to the brand’s electrification plans.

Indeed, a brand spokesperson at the Munich motor show yesterday said: “We’re committed to both battery and fuel cell technologies. BEVs like Ioniq 5 can take long journeys with short recharge times,” and so can FCEVs, which means “they don’t need big heavy batteries”.

Hyundai had earlier confirmed plans to heavily update the existing Nexo SUV – one of just two mainstream passenger FCEVs on the market – in 2023, before launching a pair of new standalone FCEVs by 2025, but now it has detailed the upgraded hydrogen powertrain that will underpin this shift in focus to hydrogen.

Its third-generation fuel-cell stack – following on from the first in 2013’s low-volume ix35 Fuel Cell and the second in today’s Nexo – will be available in two power outputs: 100kW and 200kW, the former of which is claimed to be 30% smaller than the system currently in use. It will therefore, Hyundai said, be readily usable in a wide variety of vehicle types, while the 200kW version is geared towards exclusively commercial applications.

More significantly, the third-generation stack promises a significantly longer usable life than today’s system. Hyundai estimates the Nexo’s current powertrain is capable of 5000 hours or 100,000 miles of usage, but the new system is projected to boost those figures by between 50% and 100%, with the “high-durability” versions capable of some 310,000 miles of use – nearly double the warranty mileage of an ICE-powered Hyundai model.


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