Hyundai Motor Group is betting heavily on the world’s lightest gas – with sales of its new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle set to begin in the U.S. early next year.
Find out more about Hyundai’s U.S. hydrogen fuel cell venture.
Hyundai is already selling the iX35 hydrogen car in Europe and prepping the little crossover for the American market.
Hyundai is betting heavily on the world’s lightest gas – with U.S. sales of its new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle set to begin in the U.S. early next year.
Sometimes described as “refillable batteries,” fuel cells produce nothing but water vapor in their exhaust and are one of only a handful of ways to meet the stringent zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, requirements set for California and other parts of the world. But hydrogen power has its own drawbacks, including the lack of a refueling infrastructure that experts warn could take years – and cost billions of dollars – to overcome.
“We are studying the market to see which will work better,” Moon-Sik Kwan, president of Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Division, tells TheDetroitBureau.com, noting that while Hyundai is focusing on hydrogen, its South Korean partner Kia is preparing a battery-electric version of its little Soul crossover.
Hydrogen fuel cells have been around since the mid-1900s, though they were little more than a scientific curiosity until the Apollo space program, when they were tapped to provide power on the moon mission capsules. Fuel cells gained proponents within the auto industry during the 1990s, only to see the spotlight shift to battery power in the new millennium. But now, as the range and cost limits of lithium-ion technology becomes increasingly apparent, fuel cells have again gained a following.
Toyota has promised to put a fuel cell vehicle into limited production by 2015, Honda following up soon after with a replacement for its earlier FC-X Clarity model. General Motors and others could begin production of their own hydrogen cars later in the decade.