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Hyundai could clear the air

image An answer to our prayers... Hyundai will begin production of an emission-free fuel cell electric vehicle in 2012. Photo Gallery

Hyundai will a offer zero emissions car in just a few years.

While the United States is still wondering who killed the electric car, Korea might beat the rest of the world in the race towards selling a zero emissions vehicle – and also to what could be the most frugal car on our market.

Visiting Australia this week, Hyundai fuel cell expert, Dr Sungho Lee said the company would begin production of an emission-free fuel cell electric vehicle in 2012.

“Imagine if a car produced no pollution at all – only water,” Dr Lee says.

“This is possible in our fuel cell electric vehicles and we believe fuel cell electric vehicles will become very important as a clean energy source in the future.”

Dr Lee says the vehicles Hyundai has been trialing – four bus prototypes — run on electricity produced by the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen within the fuel cells.

The system mainly consists of hydrogen tanks, fuel cell stacks, a motor, a motor controller, and also a super capacitor which has been newly adopted as an auxiliary power source.

The bus – which was trialled as part of Hyundai’s sponsorship of football World Cup in Germany in 2006 — has a range of 300 kilometres and can reach up to 80km/h.

However Dr Lee says the technology will be developed for use in a passenger car, loosely based on the i-Blue concept revealed last year.

“When you will be able to drive a zero emission car from Hyundai? Our development program will be complete by 2011, and we plan to start production around 2012,” he says.

Dr Lee believes there will continue to be growing acceptance of environmentally friendly vehicles, which will accelerate as petrol prices rise. He says that the cost of driving conventional cars will double by the end of 2010, which will force more people to look for alternatives.

He acknowledges that many buyers currently dismiss hybrid vehicles because of their lower power outputs, but says this is also changing.

“As Hyundai kept developing hybrid engines, their power has increased,” Dr Lee says.

“Now we can have 100kW – and maybe more in future – we are, yes, truly in the game.”

Hyundai is also looking at bringing to the Aussie market a hybrid LPG passenger that could have fuel consumption as low as 2.7 litres per 100km. This would make it by far the most economical vehicle on our market – and could make it a contender among the world’s cheapest running costs.


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • to the people talking about running a standard ICE on hydrogen, a fuel cell setup is about 90% efficient converting the energy of the reaction to motion, an ICE drivetrain is at best 20% efficient. That means carrying 5+ times the (dangerous) hydrogen, 5+ times the running cost, 5+ times the energy required to make the hydrogen in the first place. Not practical.

    myco Posted on 15 October 2008 2:00pm

    Thomas Laux Posted on 06 August 2008 11:07am
  • I would like to see holden with a hydrogen commodore. Not hydrogen electric. People argue you cant sell hydrogen cars because there is no distribution network. Imagine, For example: If every holden dealer had a hydrogen pump to power these cars, that would be close enough for 90% of the population. One way to keep customers coming back. Zero emmision, they would be on a winner.

    dave Posted on 16 June 2008 5:26pm
  • A few years ago Daewoo sold a CNG version of their Ciello and lanos the cars were very pricey though ,now most of the CNG stations have dissappeared.

    David of qld Posted on 15 June 2008 9:31am
  • Ford and Holden aren't the only ones who should sit up and listen. The global automotive industry, needs to sit up and listen.

    Anthony blyth of Merrylands Posted on 11 June 2008 6:02pm
  • Developing a car that runs on electricity from burning hydrogen is nuts. The cost, weight and space required for the storage cells is quite large. Why don't they just run the motor on hydrogen and forget the in between step of converting it to electricity. It produces the same amount of emissions (zero) but is far more energy efficient, that is produces more power from the same amount of fuel. While I am in favor of "Green" cars, one of the problems with our current technology is that making the replacement fuels, eg Hydrogen and alcohol, produces more greenhouse gases than the fuels they are replacing. We should be careful when analyzing the actual total greenhouse gas emissions from our supposed "Green" cars.

    Paul Wornham of NSW Posted on 11 June 2008 5:34pm
  • I don't think it should be only ford and holden paying attention to this car, the entire and global automotive industry needs to have a look at this.

    Anthony blyth of Merrylands Posted on 11 June 2008 6:02am
  • Are you listening Ford? Holden?

    LH of Brisbane Posted on 09 June 2008 11:19pm
  • Hyundai is on a winner with that LPG hybrid! if they decide to bring it over here they will sell as many as they can get their hands on!!! coz 10 dollars a week for fuel will make the world famous Prius look pathetically expensive to run!

    Carl of Sydney Posted on 08 June 2008 12:22am
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