There have been no big proclamations from any manufacturers recently about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEV) as the eventual replacements for today's petrol and diesel combustion engine powered models. But Hyundai certainly isn't giving up on hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, as it's just unveiled a new generation FCEV it's planning to offer for sale next year.
Hyundai already has one FCEV available in the shape of the Tucson Fuel Cell (ix35), although its availability is extremely limited both in terms of numbers and geographically. Now the South Korean manufacturer has given us an advance look at its next-generation fuel cell vehicle, well in advance of the new SUV's official launch early in 2018.
Through a specially-arranged preview event held in the Korean capital of Seoul, the close-to-production-ready model showed off its impressive capabilities as well as its futuristic design. The new model doesn't have a name yet, but it embodies Hyundai's ongoing commitment to a new era for advanced eco-friendly vehicle technology and development.
Four key areas of FCEV technology are addressed by this fourth-generation Hyundai fuel cell -- fuel cell system efficiency, performance (maximum output), durability, and tank storage density.
The new model has a fuel efficiency level of 60 percent, which is a 9 percent increase over the Hyundai Tucson's 55.3 percent, and the maximum output has been increased by 20 percent over and above its predecessor to an impressive 163PS.
Thanks to new highly durable catalyst technology, the new generation FCEV also has greater durability than the current generation. And instead of two differently-sized fuel tanks as in the current Hyundai FCEVs, the new version utilizes three tanks, all similarly-sized and made of more advanced plastics to reduce thickness.
Hyundai's new hydrogen-powered SUV will be fully revealed next year in Korea, with European and North American markets following shortly afterwards. As well as the advanced fuel cell technology, the new model will also feature a number of driver assistance technologies, details of which will be disclosed in January at the 2018 CES, along with the official name for the new model.