This famous brand has developed a revolutionary plan to tackle one of the world’s most significant issues, and we won’t have to wait long for the results. Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles could be as cheap as battery electric cars by the end of the decade, according to the Hyundai Group.
The group – which includes the Hyundai and Kia brands – is planning to introduce a new-generation fuel cell stack in 2023 that will be cheaper and smaller but deliver higher outputs and better durability.
Two versions of the third-generation stack will debut in the group’s Nexo fuel-cell SUV. The smaller 100kW stack is 30 percent smaller than the current unit, while a larger 200kW version has been designed for commercial vehicle applications. It is a similar size to Nexo’s current stack but produces twice as much power.
Hyundai predicts the estimated life of the stack will increase from 160,000km to 500,000km, while the price will be 50 percent lower. Initially, the company plans to focus on trucks, utes, and vans. It aims to apply hydrogen power to every one of its commercial vehicles by 2028.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles work by converting hydrogen into electricity that powers the electric motor. The only tailpipe emission is water. Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles don’t need large batteries that require vast amounts of raw and expensive materials.
Fuel-cell vehicles can also be refueled relatively quickly and have a driving range similar to petrol and diesel vehicles. Hyundai currently has a fleet of 45 of its Xcient hydrogen-powered trucks working in Switzerland that travel about 210,000km a month, saving more than 130 tonnes of CO2 in the process.
There is even a hydrogen-powered tractor in the works to combat emissions in the agricultural sector. Hyundai’s head of research and development, Albert Biermann, says the new technology also has excellent potential for performance cars.