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Hyundai hits gas pedal with FCEV sportscar concept

HydrogeN: The Vision FK is Hyundai’s prediction of what the hydrogen-powered performance cars of the future could look like.

Hyundai previews a sporty tree-hugger with 500kW hydrogen-powered Vision FK concept

9 Sep 2021

HYUNDAI may have the antidote to bloated batteries blunting the dynamic potential of electric vehicles with its futuristic Vision FK Concept performance car, promising emissions-free speed and low mass courtesy of a hydrogen fuel cell and some electro-wizardry from EV supercar specialist Rimac.


Revealed at the recent announcement of Hyundai’s Hydrogen Vision 2040 plan, the Vision FK touts a 500kW power output, 600km range, and can run to 100km/h in “less than four seconds” according to Hyundai.


Partnering with Rimac Automobili, which Hyundai Motor Group purchased 14 per cent of in 2019 for €80 million ($A128m), Rimac was responsible for the electric drive components and the onboard battery, while Hyundai engineered the fuel cell and hydrogen tanks.


The Vision FK concept also differs from most fuel cell cars (FCEVs) to date by coupling its hydrogen powertrain with a larger battery and a plug-in charging capability, meaning the Vision FK is more of a plug-in hybrid than a pure hydrogen vehicle.


Although a format that that has not been widely adopted to date, Peugeot and Citroen announced earlier this year that their hydrogen-powered city vans will be able to be charged up from a wall outlet, while Mercedes-Benz revealed the first plug-in FCEV back in 2017 with the GLC F-Cell.


For countries like Australia, a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell EV could be the sweet spot – offering fast refuelling and interstate range when it’s required, but low running costs and charge-at-home capability for regular urban commuting.


Speaking to the media at the Hydrogen Vision 2040 announcement, Hyundai head of research and development Albert Biermann said that while the Vision FK will not be heading down the production line, the lessons learned from it will be applied in the group’s future performance product – and that the company would leverage its ownership stake in Rimac to do so.


“Collaboration with Rimac is being carried out in various fields, including Vision FK, a concept vehicle currently under development that will become the basis for mass-produced, hydrogen-powered, high-performance vehicles in the future,” said Mr Biermann.


“We are working on this concept to bring driving performance and high power fuel-cell applications to sports cars sooner or later. This is a very good engineering exercise – combining a very high-power battery electric with a powerful fuel cell in a very tight package is really pushing our engineers to the limit, and it’s a huge challenge.”


Mr Biermann hinted that solving these challenges could pay dividends when it comes to packaging plug-in hybrid fuel cell technology into a broader range of vehicles, particularly compact vehicles that are commonly seen as better served by pure battery EV solutions.


“If we can manage such a project in this very challenging small vehicle environment, then I think that’s a very good training exercise for our engineers to also come up with ideas and combinations of battery electric and fuel cells in all other kinds of vehicles,” he said.

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