Hyundai looks back on hydrogen vehicles 10 years behind battery-powered cars – and is pushing both forward – nach Welt

Hyundai Motor has one highly anticipated electric hatchback in the coming weeks to the US and this month showed an edgy concept version of a battery-powered mid-size SUV in Los Angeles. Yet, even as the Korean industrial giant prepares to adopt Tesla in electric vehicles, it has big plans to bring hydrogen supplies into the mainstream – though that’s an option that may not be fully competitive by the end of the decade.

Hyundai announced earlier this year that it will offer a new version of its hydrogen fuel cell power system for cars and trucks twice as powerful, 30% smaller and half as expensive as the current version. Still, hydrogen technology is roughly where battery vehicles were in the early 2010s, says José Moñoz, chief operating officer for the Seoul-based automaker and head of its America operations.

“Back then, people were still wondering, ‘Is this going to happen? That is not true. We don’t have any infrastructure. People won’t like it. ‘ Now there is a (charging) infrastructure; technology has advanced; the ranges are better; the features are great, and more importantly, people who buy one now say they are going to buy another, ”says Moñoz Forbes. “Hydrogen goes through a similar phase – the phase of introducing a new technology. But we need a better (refueling) infrastructure because it is still very limited. However, when it comes to the consumer’s reaction to driving a vehicle that runs on hydrogen, there is a fantastic reaction. “

Elon Musk has long dismissed hydrogen as a practicable emission-free fuel, ridiculed its inefficiency compared to batteries and called the technology “Fool cells. ”Although it is similar to him Rejection of laser lidar for autonomous vehicles – or delicate claims on how quickly Tesla could perfect self-driving technology – Hyundai and major car and truck manufacturers like Toyota, General Motors, Daimler and Volvo, the startup Nikola and the engine maker Cummins have a broader perspective and see both batteries and hydrogen as necessary Technologies for clean vehicles. And in the case of Hyundai, the company has unusually high hopes for the most abundant element in the universe as a source of energy.

The automaker “is aggressively developing hydrogen technologies and fuel cell applications for transportation, household and industrial use,” Moñoz said in a presentation at the Los Angeles Auto Show this month. “We envision a future in which hydrogen is the primary source of energy for everyone, everything and everywhere.”

Fuel cell and battery vehicles are both electric and share the same engines and many other components. The main difference is that batteries store electricity, while fuel cells bring it on board as needed in an electrochemical process that extracts electrons from hydrogen forced through fuel cell membranes. Besides electricity, the only by-product is water vapor. In addition to cars, trucks and forklifts, they have been used by NASA for decades, work as stationary power generators and are being developed to power trains and even ships and ferries.

But the proponents of fuel are still working on solving major challenges: The technology has to overcome high costs for fuel cell stacks and hydrogen tanks, which make vehicles more expensive than those that run on carbon-based fuels or batteries. In addition, the supply of “green” hydrogen fuel from renewable energies and water or from waste materials must be drastically expanded in order to guarantee a maximum reduction in CO2. In September, Hyundai estimated its fuel cell system could reach Cost parity with battery power by 2030.

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company will be showcasing Hyundai’s new electric Ioniq 5 hatchback, a lower-priced competitor to Tesla’s Model Y due later this year, and the battery-powered Seven crossover vehicle, which could go into production by 2024, also showed its Nexo fuel cell SUV, which is already available in California, and the Xcient fuel cell trailer truck, which is coming to the state.

California is the top hydrogen car market in the US, with 12,082 in service as of Nov. 1 and an additional 48 hydrogen fuel cell buses, according to the California fuel cell partnership. There are also 47 public hydrogen filling stations in operation in the state, with another 127 planned. For comparison, by the end of 2020 there were an estimated 835,000 plug-in electric cars in the state and at least 73,000 EV charging stations.

To make it easier for consumers to own a fuel cell vehicle, Hyundai is looking to help some of its dealers add hydrogen stations, Moñoz said. In Southern California, that could mean three to five new stations.

“We are helping our traders set up the hydrogen infrastructure in the key markets where there is a demand for hydrogen products,” he said. “We are also participating in a project with Shell in which we will jointly develop 50 stations by 2030, mainly in California. This is phase one. “


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *