Production model to arrive in 2018

Hyundai might have gained a lot more attention with the launch of its Genesis luxury brand and the Prius-fighting Ioniq in recent months, but the Korean brand has bigger plans in the hydrogen-powered vehicle market. Having tested the waters with the ix35, Hyundai returned into the spotlight with the FE Fuel Cell concept 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 production version is scheduled to arrive in 2018, and even though Hyundai didn’t have much to say about it, the concept provides plenty of hints as to what we will get in dealerships.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept.

Exterior

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Hyundai says that the FE Concept's exterior is inspired by nature and water and this is evident in the vehicle's flowing lines.

Hyundai says that the FE Concept’s exterior is inspired by nature and water and this is evident in the vehicle’s flowing lines. Up front, we can see a pair of very slim headlamps that flow into an equally slender, stripe-like grille. The engine hood has subtle creases, as to the upper fenders. Below, there’s an almost plain bumper, but the flowing architecture comes to life with the two boomerang-shaped lights on each side. The upper arm of the boomerang extends well into the fender, following the same path as the ultra-slim headlamps. Further below we can see a trapezoidal grille highlighted by five thin slats that also seen to flow toward the upper section of the front fascia.

The crossover’s profile is seemingly simple and featureless above the side skirt, but the beltline is quite muscular, as are the rear haunches. The design is still mild compared to heavily sculpted compact SUVs like the Lexus NX or Toyota C-HR, but the FE has plenty of character, especially with large, intricate rims in the wheel arches. Much like any modern concept, it doesn’t have side mirrors and instead uses cameras to project images inside the cabin.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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The crossover's profile is seemingly simple and featureless above the side skirt, but the beltline is quite muscular, as are the rear haunches.

The rear section was designed along the same lines, with boomerang-style taillights extending from the tailgate well into the rear fenders and bumper. The license plate recess is placed low in the bumper and matches the front grille when it comes to shape, but it’s a bit larger. The slightly darker shade of blue and the chrome strip add elegance to the lower section. The tailgate has another pair of taillights integrated into the pillars, as well as a roof spoiler for a sportier look.

All told, the Hyundai FE is simple yet intriguing and would make a unique production model. Unfortunately, there’s a big chance that the concept will receive a big makeover before going into production.

Interior

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Almost everything is horizontally oriented, so the interior feels spacious and welcoming.

The cabin is rather simple and clean. Almost everything is horizontally oriented, so the interior feels spacious and welcoming. An aluminum strip splits the dashboard into distinct upper and lower sections before flowing into the door panels. There’s also a wide center console, a simple steering wheel without any buttons, and blue ambient lighting for a calm atmosphere.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept AutoShow Interior High Resolution
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2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept AutoShow Interior High Resolution
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The entire layout is centered around three distinct screens. There is 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 the gear selector. The vehicle also has an internal air humidifier that recycles water emitted by the car’s clean hydrogen energy circulation to create "a more comfortable cabin environment."

It also comes with portable battery packs to power various devices, while the trunk features an integrated storage and charging space for an electric scooter. Cool!

Drivetrain

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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Compared with the drivetrain in the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell, the new hydrogen system is 20 percent lighter and achieves 10 percent greater efficiency.

Under the shell, the FE Fuel Cell hides 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. Hyundai predicts that the FE Fuel Cell will run for more than 800 km (497 miles) on a single tank of hydrogen. That’s significantly better than most all-electric cars out there and pretty impressive considering where hydrogen technology is right now. Such a range would be very practical given the currently limited hydrogen infrastructure in both Europe and North America.

Conclusion

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Needless to say, the FE Concept is the kind of vehicle I’m hoping to see in dealerships in 2018, but I expect Hyundai to keep some of those wild design cues. The good news is that the interior is totally doable, while the drivetrain will most definitely deliver similar performance in production form. The Korean brand might be too small to battle with the big dogs in most segments, but it’s way ahead of the competition when it comes to hydrogen-powered vehicles. Hyundai has invested heavily in fuel cell technology and believe it or not; it’s a global leader in hydrogen transportation. This could lead the company to launch some of the most advanced hydrogen cars in the future, and the FE could be one of them.

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    • * Production model might lack some of the fancy details
    • * Could be expensive

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.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept 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.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept 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.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept 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.

2017 Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept 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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