A Long-Range Hyundai Fuel-Cell Car is Coming for 2018

Featured, Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell  /   /  By Jim Motavalli

Details are emerging on the second generation Hyundai fuel-cell vehicle (FCV), which will debut in 2018. Hyundai brought its Tucson FCV to market in 2013, and was joined in the new space by Honda and Toyota.

Because of rapid improvements in fuel-cell technology, the 2018 Hyundai FCV (possibly renamed) will have a smaller fuel cell and—because of greater efficiencies—a smaller hydrogen tank as well. It will be launched in conjunction with the Winter Olympics in February 2018, to be held in Pyeong Chang, South Korea.

Despite this downsizing—which will make it easier to package the hydrogen components—the 2018 Hyundai FCV will reportedly have a range of 497 miles—eclipsing most gas cars. The new fuel-cell model, like the Tucson, will be a sport-utility vehicle.

Some automakers have formed alliances to collaborate on fuel-cell cars, but Hyundai says it will fly solo—at least until the “next-next generations beyond 2020,” Byung Ki Ahn, director of Eco-Vehicle Performance Development Group for Hyundai R&D, told Wards Auto.

Hyundai Intrado

The Intrado represents an interesting styling direction. (Hyundai graphic)

Daimler, for example, is partnered with Nissan and Ford on hydrogen work. General Motors and Honda are also collaborating. Toyota has a unique approach to sharing intellectual property—in 2015 it announced that some 5,680 fuel-cell-related patents would be made available to other automakers and developers royalty-free. “When good things are shared, great things can happen,” Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, said then.

Hyundai recently announced its 2018 Ioniq line, including a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and a battery electric. The Korea Herald recently reported that the company will also launch a long-range battery electric SUV in two versions, one with 200- and the other with 250-mile capability, by 2018.

Hyundai Ioniq family

Introducing the Hyundai Ioniq family at the 2016 New York Auto Show. (Jim Motavalli photo)

Could the long-range battery car and the new FCV share an SUV platform? It’s entirely possible, since they will undoubtedly share many electric components. In 2014, at the Geneva Motor Show, Hyundai showed off its Intrado Concept with a fuel-cell drivetrain, and that could be a preview of the new car.

A shared platform makes total sense, and follows Honda’s plans to complement its fuel-cell Clarity with battery electric and plug-in hybrid iterations.

By 2020, Hyundai hopes to be the second biggest—behind Toyota—in green car production.

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