I wrote about the Kia Sportage FCEV in Part 1 of this story. Kia is owned by Hyundai, and both are located in Korea. Kia is supposed to be the slightly lower-end and sportier mate to Hyundai's marginally higher-end and luxurious vehicles. So, it is no surprise that they share hydrogen R&D costs and technology.

Hyundai and Kia have been hard at work developing their fuel cells, but I don't often hear very much new information from them. Therefore, it was good to read that they have made substantial improvements on their earlier efforts. They have not created any new passenger vehicles like the Tucson FCEV or Sportage FCEV since that 2004 unveiling, however they have been working on a bus. The bus uses their own fuel cell stack, unlike their last vehicles which used fuel cells purchased from UTC Fuel Cells. They are able to match the previous lighter weight FCEV SUV's from '04 range of 180 miles using their own fuel cells, and using roughly the same amount of hydrogen. They hope to reach 200 kW of energy from their unit, up from the previous high of 160 kW.

So, besides the normal facts holding back hydrogen (mentioned in the Part 1), what is holding back the Korean efforts? For one, the production costs for the bus are 20 times higher than ordinary diesel buses. That is a pretty big one. However, Hyundai points out that the costs would go down substantially if more of them were produced.

Related:
[Source: Fuel Cell Works]


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