Consumers may be slow on the uptake, but Hyundai has stated that they are still committed to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which they see as a better option than all-electric vehicles.
The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV went on sales last year, but only 273 of a targeted 1,000 vehicles have been sold or leased to this point. Of that number, the majority of the units, which retail for $76,000, where purchased in Europe and California.
Hyundai has plans to sink another $10 billion into EV, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles over the next 4 years.
As far as potential sales growth goes, it is fuel cell vehicles that have the largest upside.
Sae Hoon, general manager of the fuel cell program at Hyundai, explained that this is because there is very little in the way of market competition. He also spoke about design flexibility, and how designers can scale hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in size, from compact cars to buses.
Trucks and buses have already adopted the technology, as larger vehicles simply can not perform well using all-electric power. The batteries are just too large in size, and the amount of charging that is required just doesn’t make EV a viable option for larger vehicles.
Toyota recently entered the hydrogen fuel cell market, releasing the Mirai last December at a starting price of $57,500. Honda also has plans to deliver the FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, but the date of release has been pushed back.
It is only water vapor that is emitted from the exhaust of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. One of the major benefits that they have over EV vehicles is their range, as they can travel 300 miles on a full tank, and can be refilled in a matter of just 5 minutes.
Even with a supercharger, the average electric vehicle takes 20 minutes to charge the battery halfway. The Tesla EV can get about 265 miles on a full charge, while the Toyota RAV4 EV can only manage about 125 miles.
Hyundai FCEV gets 265 miles on full tank
When filled, the Tucson ix35 Fuel Cell in Europe can get about 369 miles, while the US model gets 265 miles on a full tank.
Right now, it is the cost of the vehicles and the lack of refilling stations that are the sticking point for Hyundai.
The Koreans believe that it will take about another 10 years before the technology gains wider appeal. Hybrids and EV’s will continue to dominate the greenmarket until then.
There are a few different ways in which hydrogen fuel is created, but it is steam-methane reformation that is the most common.
In this process, high-temperature steam reacts with methane when a catalyst is introduced, creating hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide.
The latter material, as well as other impurities, are filtered out using something called pressure swing absorption. The end result is hydrogen that is almost totally pure.
Ethanol, propane, and gasoline can also be used in the steam reformation process to create hydrogen. Oil refineries regularly use steam methane reformation in order to create hydrogen that can be used to remove a number of impurities from petroleum and diesel fuels.
It is uncelar at this point which technology will preveail, the all-electric cars or FCEVs, so let us hear your thoughts.
What kind of Hyundai cars would you like to drive? EVs or FCEVs?