Hyundai Second-Gen Fuel Cell SUV Spied

DEC 10 2017 BY C SMITH 22

The new model will be officially unveiled in January at CES 2018.

As electric vehicles continue to evolve, automakers are also going deeper into the realm of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. A concept version of Hyundai’s latest creation called the FCEV (not the most creative name to be sure) was actually shown to the world back in August during a special preview event in Seoul, with an official launch slated for January during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Now, spy photographers have caught what are reportedly production versions of the new SUV outside the Hyundai Motor Euorpe Technical Center in Germany.

The as-yet unnamed SUV is said to have a system efficiency level of 60 percent, which is a 9 percent improvement from the first-generation ix35 fuel cell vehicle, better known in the U.S. as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV. The new vehicle is targeting a 580-kilometer (360-mile) range between stops for hydrogen, which is also a marked improvement from the Tucson. Available power is up as well, with 163 horsepower on tap.

Hyundai Second-Gen FCEV

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles utilize electric motors, however the juice comes from the fuel cell instead of batteries. An advantage to this system is of course the refill time, which is pretty much the same as stopping off to fill up the gas tank on a regular car. Filling hydrogen isn’t quite as simple, however, since it requires higher pressures and secure connections between vehicles and the pump. In addition, the infrastructure for hydrogen has been very, very slow to develop, despite fuel cell cars being on the road – albeit in very limited numbers – for several years now.

Hyundai Second-Gen FCEV

Hyundai is shooting to have 10,000 fuel cell vehicles on the road in South Korea by 2020, an endeavor which will hinge heavily on the country increasing its hydrogen filling stations from 20 to 100 by then. Similar expansion will be necessary in the U.S. if automakers hope to expand on fuel cell sales, as there are currently only 39 hydrogen stations in the entire country, with the vast majority located in California.

Images: Automedia

Categories: Hyundai


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22 Comments on "Hyundai Second-Gen Fuel Cell SUV Spied"

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hardly “green” extremely limited infrastructure, exorbitant cost *and* weak in the HP department? what a winner. at least CNG vehicles have serious giddyup. fairly certain they’re easy conversions too. my being fuel cell vehicles strike me as little more than an alternative, not a solution to anything.

Joshua Burstyn

Not entirely true. FCEVs are a solution to the CARB credit “problem” some manufacturers face…


Somehow I doubt they face CARB ZEV credit problem in South Korea 😉

Another compliance company comes to mind though that barely makes from one secondary share sale or junk bond offer to next, and relies on ZEV credit sales and tax payer handouts. It may indeed have “problem” when everybody else including Hyundai will have few ZEVs models for sale. Whether particular offerings will be “quick” slow charging or fast refueling, it will be their least problem.


“Somehow I doubt they face CARB ZEV credit problem in South Korea”

Hmmm, and what percentage of S. Korean make fool cell cars get sold in Japan? Somehow I doubt that any S. Korean auto maker would continue to make fool cell cars if Japan stopped offering the obscenely high subsidy it does for selling them there.

With subsidies up to nearly $20,000 per car, it’s not hard to understand why auto makers in the Asian market would continue to make fool cell cars, no matter how ridiculously impractical they are!


What, South Korean cars in Japan? You need stronger pills to help with your wits, Pu-pu. Or maybe your pills are too strong for you :/

There is no love lost between Koreans and Japanese. Learn some basic history. Hyundai had sold only token numbers of their cars in Japan years ago before pulling out.

Anyway, it has nothing to do with CARB mandate to sell ZEV cars. CARB – California Air Resources Board. You are totally confused. By the way, your Dear Welfare Queen was recently whining that he can’t sell CARB ZEV credits for as much as he wants. $7500 US federal tax credit, some thousands of California rebate, and 10 or so thousands per car for ZEV credits is not enough for him. GIVE HIM MORE CASH!

If people aren’t buying, and it costs more to produce (less margin), it’s not a solution. Had Hyundai put effort into IoniqEV, they would’ve got far more CARB credits than any FCEV would.

Frankly, I really don’t know why they bother. At $16/kg and not decreasing any time soon, people are not going to buy it unless they subsidize the fuel. But they can’t subsidize fuel for large number of cars for significant CARB credits. It’s lose-lose for car makers.

john Doe
The cost will come down, as the technology matures. It cost a fraction of what it used to, just a few years ago. It is also a lot smaller. For some vehicles, and in some areas this may be the solution for a while. I love technology, and I hope they succeed to make fuel cells a viable option for those that need it. Hopefulle will the development help to solve other problems as well. It is complex, and there are many areas to improve. It will never be the cheapest solution – compared to BEVs, ICE cars and hybrids. For some, the extra price may be OK. Just as with EVs, Norway will take away all taxes on fuel cell vehicles to support manufacturers that invest money and engineering power to improve the technology. There will be more charging infrastructure, and price for hydrogen will fall. Will probably not be the cheapest solution, but it may be functional for normal use. As more and more green energy solutions come, there are situations where the price of electricity actually falls so much that it’s more profitable to stop wind generators, or other energy solutions for a while. During this period… Read more »

Cost will come down how? Only way to do that is via scale, but when the fuel costs 5 times more than gasoline for equivalent experience (ie, must visit filling station), it will not scale. It’s actually worse than gasoline since filling stations are so limited.

Sure, there are those who would get it for the sake of “technology”, but you can’t bring the price down with them. There is no benefit of H FCEV over gasoline cars for the end user other than “gee whiz, new toy that works worse than existing gasoline car”.

At least with BEV, you can charge at home most times, so it is better than gassers (not to mention smoother, quieter, quicker in case of SparkEV and Tesla P100DL, etc).


Why would someone buy a fuel cell car ?
Not realistic to make your own fuel.
No infrastructure and no free hydrogen.
You will still be trapped with a lot of expensive service.
No great acceleration.
Not possible to produce real cheap cars for mass market. Like USD 20k or less.
BEV can do all that.

Gary Coates

If CARB credit’s are the problem. They need to be making Battery Electric Vehicles. Something that really works, something with a future. Something that can be charged from energy that is otherwise going to waste (the sun)…oh, but they can’t sell that can they.


You can’t charge BEV with solar for all practical matters. Sun doesn’t shine at night when most people get from work in California. At daytime they already have “duct curve” in electricity demand/supply and need to PAY Arizona or Nevada to curtail their OWN solar to take California’s one.

It is ludicrously stupid. Another stupid idea is “battery charges battery” scheme to milk more netmetering credits. Why would you spend hundreds per kWh and emit 15-20 tons GHG per 100 kWH when manufacturing these batteries when you can store hydrogen for few dollars per kWh in tanks or for cents per kWh in salt caverns using proven technology?

If CA is paying other states to take excess electricity, it is ludicrously stupid. I suspect it’s more nuanced.

However, if they offer cheaper rates during the day under their control (eg. BEV charging under utility control during the day), there will be tons of ready-to-eat demand. You can see this from people getting free charging needlessly; they will find ways to take advantage of cheap.

As for H in caverns, etc. grid scale H could work, because you’d be storing massive amount in non-moving platform. But when cars leak giant freon molecules after even few years, having tiniest molecule H in moving platform makes no sense. Once they have leak-free AC in 20 year old cars, that at least makes H “plausible”. At this point, H is busted myth.

Speaking of, freon leaked out of my Prius, truck, van, pretty much every car I owned except SparkEV (only 2 years old, though).


“If CA is paying other states to take excess electricity, it is ludicrously stupid. I suspect it’s more nuanced.”

Of course they pay, what else they can do after incentivizing all the redundant PVs? They have nowhere to store it at acceptable cost.

As for the “freon” (R-12 is not in use for years), it is as much relevant to H2 FC as H bomb. The whole system isn’t pressurized all the time, and current regulations that must be met to get vehicle type approval allow only minuscule H2 leakage, low enough to be safe in enclosed garage.

I’m not convinced of ludicrous without nuance. Paying someone else to take your energy while they continue to bill the highest rate during peak solar hours means something is wrong.

If they can seal H so well, why aren’t they doing it with freon? You might say they have “magic” with H, but again, I’m not convinced when even freon can’t be contained.

While leaky H might not blow up in every instance, I’d rather not have leaky H in the garage where my hot water heater and furnace are located.


“You can’t charge BEV with solar for all practical matters.”

😆 😆 😆

I’m sure this will come as a great surprise to all those BEV owners who are using solar power to charge their cars. /snark

And with solar power installations growing by leaps and bounds, that number is increasing every day!

Hydrogen will never be the fuel of the future!


Get Real:
You may got your brain damaged by some explosion or falling PV panel if you didn’t noticed so far that 99% of residential PVs are grid tied & netmetered. They are as much relevant to the charging as some coal plant in Colorado. You may sell electricity generated at noon to grid with or without charging, as long as your fellow ratepayers are happy to subsidize full retail price sales of it. Charging usually happens at night.


“You won’t care”


It astounds me that auto makers continue to throw money down the rathole of R&D on “fool cell” cars.

Are the laws of physics likely to change in the near future? No. An economically competitive car that uses compressed hydrogen as fuel is as likely as pigs learning to fly.

Chris O

That’s just the thing: greenies won’t buy them because they are not green, regular consumers will run for the hills if they have to pay anywhere near cost of both the cars and the fuel. The laws of physics make sure that all this will ever be is a subsidy fest for compliance purposes.

Bill Howland
The thing that gets me about hydrogen currently is the high dispensing cost – mostly the electricity cost for the 600 – odd – horsepower required for even a small station, and then the high maintenance cost of the early stations. I would imagine that future designs would use Natural Gas engines for Compression and use the waste heat to run adsorption cooling units for the refrigeration required, but I’ve seen no literature showing anything else than expensive electrically operated stations. But seeing as its only the most rosey, optimistic projections about the cost of future hydrogen dispenseries lowering its RETAIL cost only to ‘around’ the current cost of gasoline, make me wonder why anyone would want to bother with H2 vehicles. As I’m sure John701a and others would state, a Prius gets great mileage with pretty low pollution, and that can be made even less with a Prius Prime – and those can be plugged in at home to an existing recepticle with no dispensing cost at all. I don’t see how a fuel-celled vehicle can compete with cheap gasoline (and cheap electricity) unless it is FORCE MANDATED BY GOV’Ts, which then all bets are off. In the meantime… Read more »
Chris O

Even the name is deceptive, as it seeks to tap into the goodwill of electric vehicles.

It’s not an electric vehicle though, not according to any meaningful definition anyway. The only meaningful definition uses the fuel vehicles use as the criterion as that’s what defines key parameters like emissions, economics, overall owner experience, not the fact that it’s an electric motor that ultimately drives the vehicle. Such a definition only considers cars electric to the extend they are powered by electrons from an external source (or basically a car that plugs in).

This doesn’t plug in so just call this the Hyundai HFCV.

Name suggestions for special editions; White Elephant, Red Herring.


Let’s wait and see how will be the winner. They have been working on hydrogen solutions for a very long time and still can’t reach mass market.
They probably never will.

BEV on the other hand is getting closer every day.

My bet is on BEV to be the winner and standing alone on the podium.