I mention in most of my posts on hydrogen that it is very early in the development stage, that hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source, and that it takes more power to produce hydrogen at this point than you get out of it. These facts are not enough information to give up entirely on hydrogen for use in automobiles, as evidenced by the recent progress of fuel cell vehicles in Korea.

The first example we will consider is Kia. Kia has been in the hydrogen fuel-cell game for a while, and introduced their Kia Sportage FCEV in 2004. The vehicle sported 80 kW of power (about 107 hp), a lithium polymer battery pack delivering 152 volts and a 152 liter hydrogen tank, storing the hydrogen at 5,000 psi. The vehicle had a 180 mile range.

In 2004, Kim Sang-Kwon, President of Research and Development for the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group said, "Now we will be able to build fuel cell electric vehicles in higher volumes for fleet testing and the latest Sportage FCEV drives us closer to the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles, Migrating our fuel cell technologies into a smaller, more compact vehicle presented many design challenges... With the new Sportage FCEV, Kia takes a big step towards our goal of developing a commercially viable zero-emissions vehicle based on fuel cell technology by 2010."

What progress has been made since '04? We'll get to that in Part 2, coming later today.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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