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Geneva show: Hyundai charges FE concept

Light option: Hyundai’s Geneva show offering runs on the lightest element in the periodic table and produces water vapour as its only emission.

FE Fuel Cell concept previews Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell replacement at Geneva


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8 Mar 2017

HYUNDAI has offered a glimpse at what a replacement for its ix35 Fuel Cell might look like, with the new FE Fuel Cell Concept marking significant advances in hydrogen-powered transport.

Unveiled at the Geneva show, the new vehicle promises an even more compelling case for a right-hand drive fuel cell car than Hyundai’s current hydrogen-powered production car, the ix35 Fuel Cell, which is the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered car and sold in 17 countries.

System weight has been cut 20 per cent, efficiency is up 10 per cent and the power density of the fuel cell stack is up by a significant 30 per cent, meaning a production car based on the concept’s technology would go further, faster and cost less in the process.

While the hydrogen ix35’s average driving range is 500km, the FE Fuel Cell can cover up to 800km.

In 2015, Hyundai told GoAuto that a replacement for the ix35 Fuel Cell was on the way but, while the successor would be based on an SUV platform, it would not be badged ix35 or Tucson.

It is therefore likely that the Geneva show car will evolve into the second-generation of Hyundai’s fuel-cell vehicles, although its christening moniker remains a mystery for now.

“Elements of the FE Fuel Cell Concept will influence an SUV Fuel Cell model set for launch in 2018,” the company said in a statement.

The South Korean car-maker says the concept forms a critical part of its vision for a “hydrogen society” in which “transportation is clean, efficient and enhances the lives of our customers”.

“Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles that advance the automotive industry’s environmental progress,” said Hyundai Motor Company vice chairman Woong Chul Yang. “Our FE Fuel Cell Concept is an important evolution of our pioneering hydrogen leadership.” By 2020, Hyundai has committed to introducing at least 14 ‘environmentally- focused’ vehicles including the Ioniq range with three variants powered by electrified drivetrains.

Little detail is revealed about the FE Fuel Cell Concept – the FE standing for Future Eco – but its maker has explained a handful of the concept’s “eco credentials”, including portable battery packs that are charged by the fuel cell system and can be used by occupants to power devices such a phones and tablets.

The concept comes complete with its own folding electric scooter for completing final shorter sections of a journey without having to resort to fossil fuels or walking. The scooter slots into a specially tailored boot space that offers integrated storage and simultaneous charging.

On the outside, the FE’s minimalist design is said to have been inspired by nature and water, the latter being its only emission, while efficient, low-drag aerodynamics were also a contributing feature to its looks.

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