Expect a production model in 2018

Hyundai has been busy with a lot of projects recently, including the launch of its Genesis luxury brand, the Prius-fighting Ioniq, and hydrogen-powered vehicles. The latter returns under the spotlight with FE Fuel Cell concept, which the Korean brand has just unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Part of a program that will see "14 or more new environmentally-focused" models introduced by 2020, the FE, which stands for "future eco," previews the company’s next-generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles. A somewhat futuristic looking crossover by design, the FE Fuel Cell has a rather minimalist style with flowing design lines inspired by nature and water. There aren’t a whole lot of details to run by, but the concept’s styling is unlike anything else from Hyundai, and it could also preview an upcoming design language.

The cabin is rather simple and clean and centered around three distinct screens. There a wide display in place of the instrument cluster, an equally wide but taller screen atop the dashboard, and a smaller display in the center stack, just above what appears to be a gear selector. Apart from that and the blue ambient lighting, nothing stands out really, but Hyundai did say that the concept has an internal air humidifier. The system recycles water emitted by the car’s clean hydrogen energy circulation to create "a more comfortable cabin environment."

But what about power and range?

Continue reading for the full story.

Next-Generation Fuel Cell

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Moving over to the drivetrain department, the FE Fuel Cell is powered by the company’s fourth-generation fuel cell technology. Compared with the current system used in the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell, it is 20 percent lighter and achieves 10 percent greater efficiency. In addition, the power density of the fuel cell stack has increased by 30 percent, enhancing the car’s range. Speaking of range, Hyundai predicts that the FE Fuel Cell will run for more than 800 km on a single hydrogen tank. That’s pretty impressive and rather necessary given the currently limited hydrogen infrastructure.

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The FE Fuel Cell is powered by the company's fourth-generation fuel cell technology. Compared with the current system used in the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell] it is 20 percent lighter and achieves 10 percent greater efficiency.

Another interesting thing about the FE concept is that it was designed to have portable battery packs, which are charged by the car’s energy output so that passengers could use various devices, including smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the trunk contains a small electric scooter for enhanced mobility in crowded cities.

Hyundai says that the FE concept will inspire a production SUV that will be launched in 2018. It remains to be seen whether it’s a new nameplate or the next-generation ix35/Tucson.

Why it Matters

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Hyundai might be too small to battle with the large companies in most segments, but it’s arguably the most important player when it comes to hydrogen-powered vehicles. The Korean brand has invested heavily in fuel cells, to the point that it has become a global leader in hydrogen transportation. Granted, the technology is still in its infancy and the infrastructure is almost non-existent, but Hyundai managed to deliver the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen vehicle, the ix35/Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2013. Four years later and the crossover is on sale in 17 countries around the world. That’s a big achievement given the lack of technology and infrastructure and the massive amount of funding needed for research and development in this field.

Press Release

Hyundai Motor today unveiled its futuristic FE Fuel Cell Concept that looks ahead to the next generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Having established itself as a global leader for hydrogen transportation, the company has reaffirmed its commitment to fuel cell vehicle development at the Geneva Motor Show 2017. The FE Fuel Cell Concept represents the next step for Hyundai Motor toward realizing its ultimate ambition of creating a zero-emission Hydrogen Energy Society.

In early 2017 at the Davos World Economic Forum, Hyundai Motor Company joined the launch of the Hydrogen Council, a global initiative to promote the development and commercialization of fuel cell cars as an alternative to fossil fuel vehicles. This follows two decades at the forefront of hydrogen vehicle development, most recently with the ix35 Fuel Cell (Tucson Fuel Cell in some markets), which in 2013 became the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, and is currently on sale in 17 countries around the world.

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Woong Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company, said: “Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles that advance the automotive industry’s environmental progress. Our FE Fuel Cell Concept is an important evolution of our pioneering hydrogen leadership, and moves us closer to our vision for a ‘Hydrogen Society’, where transportation is clean, efficient and enhances the lives of our customers.”

The FE Fuel Cell Concept continues Hyundai Motor’s commitment to fuel cell vehicle development and is part of the company’s eco-vehicle program that will see 14 or more new environmentally-focused models introduced by 2020. Spurred on by greater global demand for fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vehicles, the program continues the example of innovation set by IONIQ, the first car to offer a choice of three electrified powertrains in a single body type.

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The FE Fuel Cell Concept’s flowing form is inspired by nature and water – the car’s only emission – with the clean and calm design emphasizing its non-polluting nature. Across the car, form follows function to deliver a minimalist style. Exemplifying this approach, the FE Concept features a dramatic and stylish rear air foil and integrated vents that provide aerodynamic efficiency through intelligent engineering.

The concept’s name ‘FE’ stands for Future Eco, reflecting the innovative new technologies that complement the car’s eco-friendliness – a recognition of its unique fuel source. One of the most notable characteristics of the new concept is its internal air humidifier, which recycles water emitted by the car’s clean hydrogen energy circulation to create a more comfortable cabin environment.

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The FE Concept showcases Hyundai Motor’s fourth generation of hydrogen fuel cell technology, an evolution of research, development and real-world evaluation programs around the world. When compared with the current generation system used in the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell, the new technology is 20% lighter, and achieves 10% greater efficiency. In addition, the power density of the fuel cell stack is increased by 30%, boosting the car’s range significantly.

As another reinforcement of the car’s eco-credentials and focus on customer convenience, the FE Concept features portable battery packs – charged by the car’s energy output – to power passenger devices. Meanwhile, the trunk features an integrated storage and charging space for an electric scooter, demonstrating how Hyundai Motor is developing mobility solutions to match future lifestyles.

Hyundai's FE Fuel Cell Concept Showcases Future Vision For Zero-Emission Mobility Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The new concept car is more than simply beautiful and innovative; it is highly capable too. The car is designed to run for more than 800 kilometers between refueling, acknowledging the current limited hydrogen infrastructure. Elements of the FE Fuel Cell Concept will influence an SUV Fuel Cell model set for launch in 2018, which will feature advanced ‘Hyundai Smart Sense’ driver assistance technologies, alongside an extensive hydrogen-powered range.

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