Hyundai Fuel Cell SUV concept: hydrogen crossover coming next year


Hyundai FCEV concept

Hyundai FCEV concept

Enlarge Photo

Hyundai arrived first to market with the world's first production hydrogen fuel-cell crossover utility in 2013 with the Tucson Fuel Cell, and we have a good idea of what to expect from the brand's follow-up act.

The Korean brand unveiled a lightly-disguised concept this week that previews its next fuel-cell SUV to come in 2018, which remains unnamed so far.

Hyundai has simply referred to this conceptual fuel-cell SUV as its ... "Next-Generation Fuel Cell SUV."

DON'TMISS: Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept previews hydrogen-powered SUV coming in 2018

The brand made it clear, however, that the concept is a good look at what to expect from the production SUV that will arrive next year, and Hyundai detailed four key areas its next hydrogen vehicle will focus on.

The fuel cell system's efficiency, performance, durability, and tank storage density received the greatest amount of attention in development, and each facet of the vehicle returns key improvements.

The fuel-cell system boasts an efficiency level 9 percent higher than the Tucson Fuel Cell through reduced hydrogen consumption.

Hyundai FCEV concept

Hyundai FCEV concept

Enlarge Photo

Additionally, Hyundai targets a 580-kilometer (360-mile) range, based on Korean testing standards. A more realistic EPA range rating for the United States would likely hover around 280 miles.

As for performance, Hyundai's next fuel-cell SUV also sports 20 percent more power with 119 kilowatts (156 horsepower).

Hyundai has also gone to great lengths to ensure the next fuel-cell SUV can also be started in below-freezing temperatures, an issue that plagued earlier prototype fuel-cell vehicles.

READ THIS: Kia to focus on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles before electrics, chief engineer says

The brand says it has incorporated "key components" into an optimized vehicle architecture developed by Hyundai, which allows the fuel-cell SUV to be started at temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).

Finally, Hyundai has developed a new hydrogen-tank storage system, which features three equally sized tanks rather than two differently sized ones like the Tucson Fuel Cell.

The new system features a plastic liner configuration and an efficient layering pattern for the fibers that ultimately allowed structural designers to reduce its thickness.

Hyundai FCEV concept

Hyundai FCEV concept

Enlarge Photo

Looking to the design, the latest concept takes plenty of cues from the Hyundai FE concept, which it says was inspired by nature—notably water.

Minimalist design and fluid style cues combine with practical aerodynamics for a sleek package, and inside the interior is devoid of clutter to reflect the SUV's design motif as well.

The Next-Generation Fuel Cell SUV will join no fewer than eight battery-electric cars Hyundai and Kia together plan to roll out by 2022.

CHECK OUT: Hyundai targets 1,400 units a year of next-gen fuel-cell vehicle: report

Those include an electric version of the recently-revealed Kona small SUV, a Genesis electric vehicle, and a long-range electric car with a 500-km (310-mile) range.

The fuel-cell SUV will arrive next year, but will likely remain a low-production model: the reported target is a mere 1,400 units per year.

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