Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) spew water vapor. FCEV enthusiasts are likely hoping that the head of fuel-cell research at Hyundai isn't just spewing hot air.

Hyundai's Lim Tae-won said electric-vehicle makers like Nissan started mass-producing models such as the Leaf too early and are hurting mass acceptance of EVs because there isn't a sufficient vehicle charging infrastructure in place to support broad sales. Specifically, Reuters reports, he said:

"It was a hasty approach. The battery electric cars may have helped raise brand value for a couple of years, but ended up slowing down the take-off in the market."

The Hyundai executive also said that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will become price competitive with battery-electric vehicles sometime between 2020 and 2025, and that FCEVs will become preferred to battery-electric vehicles for the reasons we've all heard before: FCEVs can go about as far as a conventional fossil-fueled vehicle on a full tank – roughly four times a most fully charged EVs. FCEVs also don't emit greenhouse gas emissions.

At the Paris Motor Show earlier this week, Hyundai said that it will make the first mass-produced FCEV. This will be the ix35 (it's the Tucson in the U.S.) fuel-cell crossover and will be available to the public for lease by the end of the year. Through 2015, Hyundai says it will make about 1,000 ix35 FCEVs, which have a full-tank range of about 365 miles.

Earlier this week, Hyundai said it would lease 15 ix35 FCEVs to the city of Copenhagen, which is looking to become "carbon free" by 2025.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 149 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would like to point out that a quick check of the internet will show you that a gallon of gas burned in a ice engine produces about 8.6 pounds of water. The fuel cell, due to it's efficiency and superior miles per gallon, less. An acre of corn releases about 4,000 gallons per day.
      Randy C
      • 2 Years Ago
      Of course EV makers jumped the gun. Since Hyundai backed HFC they will say that. I'm not willing to wait for or pay for the required hydrogen fueling infrastructure. 20,000 stations are needed to approach the convenience of gasoline. At $3.9 million each they're darn expensive. And how many years do I have to wait for reasonably priced fuel and vehicles? I'm not willing to make 5 mile or more detour to get fuel. HFC is a great idea but the realities of implementing it make it cost to much. Electricity is already everywhere. Very little infrastructure has to be built. Heck I charge my EV in my driveway with an extension cord. I've yet to need a quick charge or a public charging station. The last time I visited a gas station was to by lotto tickets. The last time I visited a major mall I looked for a charging station, no luck. I didn't need the charge I had over 50 miles left in the battery and only 7 miles to get home.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      "We aim to reduce prices of fuel-cell vehicles to match battery cars by 2020-25," Yeah... battery cars of 2010 - 2012... By 2020-25, BEVs would have come down in price. They won't be able to hit a moving target. Sure, the FCVs will be worth the extra money, since they don't have inherent range limitations. But they WILL have external range limitations due to limited fueling locations. And even when (IF) those external range limitations are taken care of... FCVs are not just competing against the lower price of the short range BEVs... they are competing against the LONGER range and LOWER price of PHEVs. The FCVs may be zero tailpipe emissions.. but money talks...and most drivers would not mind having the emissions of a Volt, rather than paying several thousand dollars more for zero emissions vehicle.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fuel Cells are Forever Dead. They will never be cheaper or outperform hybrids. EV battery's are improving yearly. The clock is ticking. Hydrogen is code for FRACKING Polluion in Your State, for "natural gas".
      JakeY
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jumped the gun? Most are foot dragging. Nissan's the only one at the forefront (Mitsubishi and Tesla being the other serious ones). We have the infrastructure already for the early fleet: home charging (plus standard sockets everywhere). The public infrastructure will grow naturally once an initial fleet is established (no one wants to build public infrastructure that no one will use). No chicken and egg problem, so no need to wait. The situation is different for hydrogen. They absolutely need public infrastructure even for the early fleet and even for local driving.
      Doug
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy is an idiot. Most EV buyers are able to charge at home. No need a bunch of public chargers. But those EV drivers that charge at home then create demand for public chargers. So the public chargers get built, thus making other aspiring EV owners more willing to buy. Making a nice positive feedback loop. Aditionally the bridge technology of plug-in hybrid EVs (like the Chevy Volt) allow home charging to be supported by the existing petrolium infrastructure. Again, no chicken and egg problem. Now compare hydrogen.
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      Straight from Hyundai PR: Quote: "A fuel cell stack converts the hydrogen into electricity, which in turn charges the Lithium Polymer battery that powers the vehicle's electric motor" (http://www.autoblog.com/2012/09/27/hyundai-ix35-fuel-cell-paris-2012/) . I did remember the battery size wrong, it's 21 kWh.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The anti- hydrogen fuel response by readers of ABG, to Dr Lim Tae-won's announcement of developments in Hyundai's FCV program, have a similarity to the same hysterically, irrational reactions of AB readers to EV's ! Why would anyone become passionately involved in disproving a new technology ? FCV's will either become viable, or they wont ! Hyundai, Daimler, etc have also invested billions in advanced EV technology programs. (especially in hybrid, PHEV,EREV, applications). What's all the fuss ? EV's, have proved less successful than EREV's, why? The answer is simple, it's due to the limitations of the energy storage device (ESD). Currently EV's rely upon battery ESD. Existing battery technology suffers from limitations in price, performance and operational simplicity. The limitations of batteries, make the pure EV a less attractive vehicle than EREV's. The ICE generator with it's fossil fuel ESD, camouflages the battery deficiencies producing a more attractive consumer product. No ranting by enthusiasts can can change this simple dynamic. I have no idea whether FCV technology will prove economically feasible, but then I'm not presuming to pontificate on the feasibility FCV technology, in opposition to the hundreds of scientists and engineers dedicated to FCV R&D ! Despite my considerable investment in EV technology, I am still supportive of any research into any technology which can demonstrate a viable alternative to fossil fuel. But to be viable, any technology must have the capacity to capture the acceptance the general public without relying on massively uneconomic taxpayer incentives, or mandatory coercion. I'm not saying the government shouldn't provide some incentives for new technology, but there must come a time when any technology becomes commercially viable, without taxpayer funding. I will watch Hyundai's FCV engineering developments with great interest. Rivalry, may prove inspirational EV researchers to develop a superior ESD !
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Because this is a car forum, and not a forum about infrastructure as an industry. It is easy to see all the limitations of BEVs while being blind, or dismissive about the limitations of FCVs. FCVs limitations are external to the actual car... and thus, are easily dismissed.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          No more so than FCV cars, as you still have a tough time finding a place to charge. The only benefit is you can charge at your house.
        pmpjunkie01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        If Dr Lim Tae-Won stuck to announcing developments regarding his research subject without dissing EV makers in the process he would probably receive a much warmer reception on ABG. But there is always that underlying narrative in FCEV announcements that we should not pursue other alternatives because the be all - end all FCEV will be out in 2 years. In the mean time general progress in the EV field is moving the goal post further and further out and it begs two questions: 1. Will FCEVS ever be available for purchase and 2. when they are, will they be competitive with other alternatives on the market.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have 20,000 trouble free miles on my FCV. It is just a perfect car. Averaged a high of 70 mpg and currently 62 mpg. Plenty of choices for all just around the corner (EV. FCV. CNG). I came to hydrogen FCV by way of CNG.
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Regarding the EV charging infrastructure comment, why doesn't Nissan install charging ports at every single dealer? I know that Nissan dealers are not spread out every 75+ miles nationwide, but they have plenty of them in metro and suburban areas. Enough to create a decent charging grid. It would be a start.
      brotherkenny4
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hydrogen certainly sounds good. Currently however, it is mostly made from natural gas. It would keep consumers chained to the massive outputs from the fossil industry. Hydrogen is also a very leaky gas. Our current gas delivery infrastructure (natural gas) is known to lose about 10% to leaks. You can expect hydrogen to be much worse. Or, you could build extremely expensive transport systems. So, go ahead and make the cars work, but don't talk about where the hydrogen comes from or how you will store and deliver it. By the way, if you think greenhouse gases are a problem then the most cost effective improvement we can make is to upgrade the natural gas delivery system to be less leaky. Fixin' pipes, not very sexy, and not that interesting to politicians. Who will battle for an improved natural gas pipeline system? Probably no one. On another note, does anyone know what increased level of hydrogen would do to our atmosphere? I ask because if we have fuel cell cars at any significant levels, it is inevitable that hydrogen concentration will rise.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        "On another note, does anyone know what increased level of hydrogen would do to our atmosphere?" Atmospheric hydrogen is not a problem. Free molecular hydrogen generally combines with other elements, and then is absorbed into the ground.
      Pip
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate the "wash" that fuel cell people spout that they produce less green house emissions. Yes, EVs can use dirty electricity. But hydrogen production is more dirty that the worst coal plant (its made via coal and natural gas). Add the problem of storage and compression and the waste becomes even greater. Yes you could use electrolosys to make hydrogen (its only as dirty as the electricity), but @ less than 40% efficiency why not toss that electricity into a battery for ~90% efficiency? Hydrogen will never be as green as an EV. Its is a better step over our current gasoline or diesel vehicles, and has bettery range and faster fueling times (currently), but if you are going for the "greenest" possible, EVs win the day.
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