Hyundai Motor Group has unveiled the Hydrogen Vision 2040 roadmap, with an ambitious aim to “popularise hydrogen for everyone, everything and everywhere” by 2040.
As the call to action suggests, the Hydrogen Vision 2040 plan will revolve around a new line-up of hydrogen-based products and technologies with a goal of marching towards a “hydrogen society”.
These products are not just limited to just the automotive sector, too, as the company also has plans in all other aspects of society including homes, buildings, and powerplants as energy solutions.
In the passenger cars segment, the charge towards hydrogen will be led by a hydrogen fuel cell concept sports car, called the Vision FK. In its current form, the Vision FK boasts a maximum power output of over 500 kW (670 hp) to the rear wheels, and can supposedly accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than four seconds.
Hyundai’s Head of R&D Albert Biermann explained in a web conference today that the reason that Rimac was chosen as the technology partner – rather than relying on their own platform and powertrains – was due to the “very challenging” packaging requirements of a compact FCEV sports car.
Aside from that though, the fuel cell energy converter and other components will all be engineered by Hyundai, and the company also says that it’ll boast a driving range of around 600 km.
On the commercial vehicles side of things, Hyundai has already begun mass production of a “greatly improved version” for its hydrogen-powered XCient HGV truck, and is working towards expanding its FCEV commercial line-up with new products including a new XCient tractor, and other innovative concepts such as the Trailer Drone.
The latter, unveiled today during the Hydrogen Vision 2040 webcast, is a hydrogen FCEV container transportation system, powered by what Hyundai calls the “Fuel Cell e-Bogie”, that can operate autonomously over a distance of over 1,000 km over a single charge.
The flat e-Bogies sit underneath the containers much like rail subframes under every train car, and thanks to its four-wheel steering, makes it ideal to negotiate tight shipyards and urban areas. It can also form an autonomous chain with other e-Bogies – called ‘Cluster Mode’ – to further boost efficiency.
Hyundai also envisions to repurpose the e-Bogie system for other usage, such as ground logistics, construction, firefighting, and disaster relief missions, catering to a wide value chain that can all benefit from a zero-emission, fully-autonomous mobility solution.
The entire Hydrogen Vision 2040 plan hinges on Hyundai’s next-generation fuel cell system, which was shown off in 100 kW and 200 kW variations today.
The 100 kW unit, designed primarily for passenger cars and other civilian applications, is said to have reduced in size by 30% to make it easier to adapt to various vehicle types. Meanwhile, the 200 kW fuel cell stack for commercial usage has doubled in power output while maintaining a similar footprint to the existing system.
The new fuel cell system can also be stacked together – much like lego bricks – to offer a range of outputs anywhere from 500kW to 1MW, ideal for use as an emergency power system for large ships or IT companies.
Hyundai says that its second-generation fuel cell stack that was launched back in 2018 is already capable of providing 5,000 hours or 160,000 kilometers of reliable usage, which is similar to the warranty period of a regular ICE vehicle.
For the third-generation fuel cell, the company is aiming to improve durability by between 50% and 100%, with the “high durability” commercial models capable of 500,000 km of drive range.
Aside from technical improvements, the new fuel cell stack also sees costs being lowered by more than 50%, which will be a key factor in its goal to achieve price parity with battery electric vehicles (BEV) by 2030.
Another key aspect in driving the price of Hydrogen FCEVs down is through economies of scale. As a first step to widespread adoption, Hyundai has committed – as the first carmaker globally – to apply fuel cell systems to all of its commercial vehicle models by 2028.