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Hyundai Introduces i-Blue Fuel Cell Concept at Chicago Auto Show; New, Purpose-Built Fuel Cell Architecture

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The i-Blue concept chassis. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai’s new hydrogen fuel cell concept, the i-Blue Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), made its North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show (6-17 February). Developed at Hyundai’s Design and Technical Center in Chiba, Japan, the i-Blue concept illustrates the design direction for a future FCEV production model.

The i-Blue is powered by a 100 kW electric motor and fuel cell stack—Hyundai’s third-generation fuel cell technology, currently being developed at its Eco-Technology Research Institute in Mabuk, Korea. .

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The i-Blue concept.

Fueled with compressed hydrogen (700 bar) stored in a 115-liter tank, i-Blue is capable of running more than 370 miles per refueling and achieves a maximum speed of more than 100 miles per hour.

Unlike its predecessors which were built on production SUV platforms, the i-Blue features a new, purpose-built 2+2 crossover architecture. The i-Blue demonstrates a significant step towards the future commercialization of Hyundai fuel cell vehicles, according to the company.

Hyundai is working toward mass production of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in the next decade.

The i-Blue is Hyundai’s first-ever model designed from the ground up to incorporate fuel cell technology, marking a tremendous leap forward for our R&D program. Our engineering team has successfully designed a more compact fuel cell vehicle, while still realizing the safety, comfort, convenience and driving range of a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle.

—Dr. Hyun-Soon Lee, president of research and development

The i-Blue’s fuel cell stack is housed underfloor, not in the engine compartment as in the second-generation Tucson FCEV. This gives the car ideal 50:50 weight distribution for optimal driving and handling dynamics. Furthermore, by moving the fuel stack underfloor, the engine compartment is less densely populated, providing better air flow and cooling.

Comments

sjc

Hyundai should just make a dual fuel FFV hybrid for under $20k with plug in expansion when batteries are more affordable.

Herm

reduce the size of the FC to 20kw, add a 10kwh lipo pack and then lets see what it does..

Healthy Breaze

@ Herm,

Does 10Kw sustain 65 mpgh for a compact car?

Neil

I have trouble seeing why anyone would build an FCV without a good sized battery to even out the demand on the FC (and extend the life of the PEM)

sjc

I agree that batteries could supply the current for acceleration, but sustained climbing is another case.

We had a discussion on here about the Volt in places like the Sierra Nevada mountain range where you would be climbing continuously from sea level to over 8000 feet for more than an hour.

While this is not the usual usage pattern for most people most of the time, it is an interesting test case. If the speed limit on Hwy 80 from Sacramento to Reno is 70 mph, could the car sustain that speed with a 20kw power source? It would depend on the weight of the car, the rolling resistance and other factors.

In the case of the Volt, they had a 70 hp turbo 1L 3 cylinder engine driving an alternator in series hybrid configuration. You might be able to sustain 40 kw of power output, but then the Volt weighed over 3500 pounds and had some fairly wide tires.

Mark A

Great ideas sjc, Neil. Maybe you should be running some auto company somewhere with your ideas. Build something exotically expensive and sell it cheap. And put in exotic batteries (that do not yet exist). I would buy.

As far as the content of this story, any advancements and applications of fuel cells, and the attached electric motors, in a vehicle is exciting news. More should be done. Electric motors, powered by fuel cells, batteries, "dilithium chrystals", or "crawfish poo" is the powerplant of the future, in my opinion. Getting these ideas out there brings us closer to the day when that will actually happen! I applaud Hyundai efforts!

Neil

Mark A: Any fuel cell vehicle is off-the-scale expensive already. If you put in a battery then you can reduce the size of the FC and therefore reduce that cost from stratospheric to merely ridiculous. You say: "exotic batteries (that do not yet exist)" ... Where have you been for the last decade? Any hybrid already in production has a big enough battery to even out power demand on the FC. As for plug-in batteries, GM has already taken delivery of prototype packs from two different manufacturers.

sjc

Batteries are getting there and lately getting their faster. I would build a plug hybrid with expandable option. You get plug capability now and can add more batteries later when the costs come down and availability goes up.

wintermane

There are only 2 reasons to combine a battery and fuel cell..

1 For a plug in with large pack a small cell can replace a noisy polluting genset and take up alot less space and weight.

2 For a fuel cell dominated design.. most compact battery pack possible so you can put it under a seat.


Now the latter is by far more likely simply due to the fact batteries are far better used to fudge cafe and other fuel econ thingers then to slap into a fuel cell car where no cafe fudgyness will result AND it will just make the car heavier and less fuel eff and more spendy.

No the best fuel cell car is a hybrid with small pack and thats what they are all looking at.

sjc

BYD has shown how you can make a plug hybrid series OR parallel, get good mileage and be made at an affordable price. If these guys want to get in the game, they would put themselves on the map much quicker by producing a BYD like car at a cheap price.

They make a 4 door sedan that sells for under $10k, I would think that they could make a series/parallel plug in with battery expansion for well under $20k. It does not have to have all that much battery only range for now, you can expand the range later if needed.

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