It wasn’t too long ago that Kia Corp and the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) entered into an agreement with the Next Hydrogen Corporation to work towards the development of a new “Electrolyzer Stack” to design and produce a new hydrogen fuel cell for future Kia and Hyundai vehicles, as well as other machines. At the Hydrogen Wave global online forum held on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the Hyundai Motor Group announced its plans to popularize hydrogen by 2040, a business strategy called “Hydrogen Vision 2040”. The goal is simple – Hydrogen energy available to ‘Everyone, Everything and Everywhere’.
“Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, work-places and factories. The goal is to make hydrogen readily used for everyone, everything, and everywhere…We want to offer practical solutions for the sustainable development of humanity and with these breakthroughs, we aim to help foster a worldwide Hydrogen Society by 2040.” – Chairman Chung at the Hydrogen Wave online global forum
Take a look at the current timeline. In 1998, the first fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), spawning a wave of hydrogen fuel cells, such as the Tucson FCEV (ix35 Fuel Cell) in 2013, the next-generation fuel cell SUV, NEXO in 2018, and then the world’s first heavy-duty fuel cell truck, XCIENT Fuel Cell, in 2020. Kia Corp and Hyundai are working towards that new hydrogen fuel cell with Next Hydrogen and by 2028, HMG wants to fully power its commercial vehicle lineup with fuel cells. Vehicles are just the beginning, but right now, the major focus is on that third-generation fuel cell system.
Currently in development, this third-generation fuel cell stack will succeed the NEXO’s current stack and make many future projects possible. We’re talking industrial-level, fully autonomous machines; drones that can aid in disaster relief and rescue missions; and even a high-performance hydrogen-powered hybrid sports car! It sounds pretty realistic when we consider the two powerful versions of the third-generation fuel cell stack the Hyundai Motor Group showcased during Hydrogen Wave – a 100kW version and a 200kW variant; ranging from 134 to 268 horsepower, give or take a couple units.
This fuel cell is already hitting milestones, only 70-percent the size of the current second-generation fuel stack (launched in 2018). This makes it easier to apply to different vehicle types and applications. The second-generation fuel cell stack is already pretty impressive, able to achieve 5,000 hours and 160,000 kilometers of usage before burning out – similar to the warranty of an internal combustion engine vehicle. This new third-gen fuel cell aims to improve the durability by 50-100 percent, able to achieve 500,000 kilometers of driving range before becoming a dud.
A new “Power Unit” is also on the table. With the new third-gen fuel cell, this power module could offer a range of outputs from 500kW to 1MW by stacking 100kW modular units. Now we know how that high-performance vehicle is possible. Showcased during Hydrogen Wave, we got a look at a hydrogen-powered hybrid sports car, named the Vision FK. Able to generate 500kW, or 670 horsepower, and accelerate from 0-60 mph in four seconds, that’s definitely something to look forward to. Furthermore, an innovative fuel cell ‘Full-Flat System’ that lowers stack height to 25cm was also on display, paving the way for PBVs, MPVs, buses and trams powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.Kia Corp and Hyundai Motors are changing the way we look at automobiles with these visions of a hydrogen-powered mobile ecosystem. Keep up with more developments about upcoming Kia tech and automobiles when you follow us on Miami Lakes Kia social media.