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Hyundai H350 fuel cell van concept revealed

Hyundai's vision of a fuel cell future just took another step toward reality, with the Korean brand unveiling a hydrogen-powered commercial van that takes just four minutes to refuel.

The Hyundai H350 Fuel Cell Concept, revealed at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, is designed to prove that fuel cell technology can be adapted to the commercial sector as well as for passenger cars.

The van is equipped with a 175-litre hydrogen tank that can be refilled from empty in four minutes, which Hyundai says makes it a more viable alternative to slow-charging electric vehicles for commercial operators.

The H350's electric motor produces 100kW and 300Nm, and Hyundai claims the van will clip a 150km/h top speed and will run for 422km before requiring refuelling.

Equally important, the hydrogen-powered powertrain has no impact on cargo space, with the short wheelbase version of the H350 providing 10.5 cubic metres of space, which increases to 12.9 cubic metres in the long wheelbase variant.

While there's no immediate production plan for the H350, commercial vehicles are the next logical step for Hyundai, with the company already heavily invested in the passenger vehicle segment. This unveiling follows news last month that the Korean manufacturer will offer the first commercially available hydrogen-powered cars in Australia within two years. The ACT Government has already lodged the first-ever order for 20 yet-to-be-revealed Hyundai Fuel Cell Electric vehicles, due to be delivered in 2018.

"The H350 is designed to show that you can have a zero-emission commercial fleet with a long range and very quick and practical refuelling times," says Hyundai Australia PR boss Bill Thomas.

"If you had a centralised refuelling point, you could run a fleet like this easily. It gives you the performance of regular van, but with the quietness and zero emissions of a fuel cell vehicle."

The H350's unveiling follows the reveal of the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van earlier this month - a futuristic commercial vehicle that paints an electric, rather than fuel cell-powered, picture of the future.

The all-electric Vision Van is powered by a 75kW electric motor and can stretch to 270km between charges. While parts of the concept seem a way off (the cargo area is fully automated and it comes equipped with delivery drones that launch from its roof), the electric technology powering it is available now.

Are you excited by fuel cell technology? Let us know in the comments below.