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Hyundai completes development of 3rd generation fuel cell vehicle; targeting mass production in 2015

Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai Motor Company has completed development of its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle—the Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)—and will begin testing next year with an eye toward 2015 mass production. (Earlier post.)

Hyundai’s third-generation FCEV is equipped with a 100kW fuel cell system and two hydrogen storage tanks (700 bar). The SUV has a full-tank range of 650 kilometers (404 miles)—equal to that of a gasoline-powered car. It can start in temperatures as low as -25 °C (-12 °F).

The Tucson ix FCEV’s range is a 76% improvement over the second-generation Tucson FCEV, which was limited to 370 kilometers (230 miles) on one filling. The new model gets gasoline equivalent fuel efficiency of 31 kilometers per liter (73 mpg US), a 15% improvement over the previous version. (Earlier post.)

More than 95% of the Tucson ix FCEV’s major components were made with Korean technology through close collaboration with about 120 domestic auto parts manufacturers. Overall volume of the fuel cell system was downsized by 20% compared to the previous system via modularization of bulky parts in the fuel cell system including fuel cell stack, balance of plant (BOP), inverter and high voltage junction box.

Hyundai took part in the Learning Demonstration Program organized by the US Department of Energy between 2004 and 2009. Next year, 48 Tucson ix FCEVs will be part of a Domestic Fleet Program supported by the Korean government.

Hyundai hydrogen vehicles have so far registered more than 2 million kilometers. Hyundai plans to make a limited supply of the Tucson ix FCEV in 2012 and begin mass production in 2015. Hyundai unveiled a cutaway version of the vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Comparison of new Tucson ix FCEV (3rd generation) and Tucson FCEV (2nd generation)
 ix FCEVTucson FCEV
Fuel cell stack output 100 kW 100 kW
Drive system 100 kW 100 kW
Energy Storage System 21 kW
100 kW
Hydrogen storage 700 bar,
5.6 kg
350 bar,
3.5 kg
Max. speed 160 km/h 160 km/h
Gasoline equivalent fuel efficiency 31 km/L
(73 mpg US, 3.23 L/100km)
27 km/L
(64 mpg US, 3.7 L/100km)
Max. range 650 km
(404 miles)
370 km
(230 miles)



Is Hyundai doing to the car industry what LG and Samsung have done in other fields?

This could become one of the first practical FC personal vehicle. Using existing NG pipelines to bring hydrogen to all existing gas stations may solve the hydrogen transportation and distribution problems. Producing hydrogen is a well known technology that can be improved every other year or so.

A hand to Hyundai.

Stan Peterson

When it is 5 years away, it no closer them when the ex Chairman of GM said it was five years away.

You know, the chairman before the one that took GM into bankruptcy, about 20 years ago.

This is a dead end technology that still depends on petroleum.


SP: Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and a few Chinese manufacturers may improve FC to the level required for clean running PHEV genset. Hydrogen is a good energy storage medium for Wind and Solar power plants. Existing NG pipelines could be used to transport it to filling stations and end users across the nation. It could play a role in future power mix.


Actually Stan if you read the beginning of the sentence Hyundai will make a limited supply of the vehicles available in 2012. That's right around the corner.


Can hydrogen use existing natural gas facilities and will the fuel cell vehicle price be competitive?


I am not sure hydrogen can be used in any great percentage in existing natural gas pipelines. Hydrogen tends to make metal brittle and leaks out. Hawaii runs about 10% hydrogen and then has to separate it at the destination.


So before 2012 we can convert existing NG pipelines to transport H2 to filling stations and end users across the nation.

For a very limited supply of Tucson IX Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.

Um NO.

So before 2015 (fifteen) we can convert existing NG pipelines to transport H2 to filling stations and end users across the nation.

For a limited supply of VARIOUS Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles and a handfull of PHEV genset.

Na, Na.


An easier appoach would be to just pipe water to the gas stations and apply electricity to it there. As TT points out FCVs will be in very limited use for many years to come so the small amount of H2 a gas station can split from water should not be an issue.

And by the time FCs do hit the road in any number it will likely be as a range extender in an EV, such cars would need refueling much less often because the average driver only needs an extended range(greater than 100 miles) for 5% of his trips. [For me it would only be .001% of my trips.]


There are a range of solutions available to supply hydrogen.
It can of course be delivered in specialised tankers.
Alternatively natural gas could be reformed at the supply point, or electrolysis used, also on site.
It seems that Hyundai is targeting a cost of around $350kw for fuel cells.
Whatever may be the case for SUVs' this would make fuel cell buses very viable, giving impetus to the infrastructure being solved.
As Al said, using fuel cells as an RE is also hopeful.
The Peugeot convertible would work well, using a 17kw fuel cell stack and 13kwh battery.


A very small 10 KW FC could do a fair job an a range extender for a light car. At $350/Kw for the FC coupled with a 10 Kwh battery (also at $350/Kwh), the total power package would be under $8K. This type of PHEV would run clean, would not use crude oil and would have enough range for highway usage.

Of course it could be scaled up for heavy cars and even heavy trucks, buses, locomotives and ships.

Hydrogen can be produced many different ways without using imported crude oil.


H2... still the most abundant element in the universe. Electrolize water or reform NG at the gas station. Not a significant issue at needed volumes.


A smaller stack and more batteries makes sense. It becomes a plug FCV. Exxon is advertising their gasoline to hydrogen system for fuel cells. I would not recommend that but methanol to hydrogen has already been done by Mercedes on the NECAR.


Um they are targetting 35 not 350 per kw. Right now the actualy cost of making fuel cells is around 75 per kw. The main cost is simply the faqct they arnt mass producing them yet are using large staffs and massive and spendy manufacturing areas.


@ wintermane:
If they were anywhere near $35kw then they wouldn't be looking for $50k for a fc SUV.
On their figures around $300-350kw makes sense.
No doubt eventually they would hope to get it lower.


So long as it takes a trillion-dollar "hydrogen highway" to make these vehicles practical, it's not going to happen. We already have an electric grid; batteries are the path of least resistance (no pun intended).


I agree with you E-P but some diversity (BEV/PHEV and FC/PHEV) may play a worthwhile role for a few generations. FC vehicles and associated hydrogen units could also play an important role as household energy supplier and/or energy storage.

Homes equipped with enough (surplus) solar power could make their own hydrogen and store it to refill their vehicles etc. That way, you could do away with liquid fuels and e-power suppliers all together. Wouldn't it be a joy to send those lobbies where they belong.


Yes, home refueling would give a FC-EREV independence from third party energy suppliers, but only up to a point. This SUV, for example, has a full-tank range of 650 kilometers (404 miles) so without those third party suppliers you can't make any trips to any place farther away than ~200 miles because you need to keep enough fuel to get back.

I wouldn't have a problem with that limit to range but others may.


This is also the case for 95%+.


I'll second Harvey's point about rooftop solar, but note that bottled hydrogen can fuel an ICE in a standard PHEV. Why exclude the use of other practical fuels which (wherever and whenever available) won't work in a fuel cell? Directing photovoltiac solar power to a battery pack is much simpler.

Which energy technology leads to driving less? Fuel cell and all-battery electric vehicles are in the same class - cars designed to maintain current average driving range of 40-60 miles daily on a tank/charge.

PHEVs may offer a mere 10-20 mile driving range on their battery pack and thus have the potential to reduce driving the MOST as power is directed to household uses instead of driving. This "choice" must be built into smart vehicle design.


Davemart the target is 35 actualy its 15 but thats fairly far ahead. Yes the target for starting selling them is 50k car price but that will drop rather fast after that point.


I met that home produced hydrogen could be used to feed an FC/PHEV where the FC is used to replace the ICE genset.

In case of need, the on-board FC + batteries could supply essential e-energy for the house or camp etc.


Harvey's scheme incorporates both the high losses of electric to H2 to electric conversion and the high capital costs of many home-sized units (vs. industrial economies of scale). Suffice it to say that if the industrial-scale system is too costly (see Dr. Ulf Bossel on the subject), Harvey's is much worse.

Michael Cain

"It can start in temperatures as low as -25 °C (-12 °F)."

There are sizable portions of the US where, for a portion of the year, the temperature at the beginning of the morning rush hour can be lower than that. While weather patterns have moderated, when I was a boy in northern Iowa, most winters had a week where the high was below -12 F.

What are the consequences on range and fuel cost when some part of the H2 has to be used to keep the FC warm while the car is parked?


Similar parts of the USA used to require vehicles to run block (and sometimes battery) heaters in the depth of winter so their engines would start. What's the difference?


When mass produced, domestic hydrogen e-produces/converters could become much cheaper than many expect. The cost of surplus domestic solar power is almost irrelevant, specially if is not to be used or stored. Making hydrogen with the surplus electricity, even at 40% efficiency, may not be such a bad deal. There's a lot to be said about producing your own power, special in many countries with lacking production facilities and poor power distribution networks. USA may not be in that category but close enough in many areas.

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