As more automakers explore hydrogen fuel cell technology, development costs will go down, infrastructure will improve, and these alternative energy vehicles will become cheaper.
Kia is working on an all-new model to help the automaker meet tighter emissions standards in 2021.
Speaking with Artur Martins, Kia’s European Head of Marketing, Autocar reports that the company will use a large-platform vehicle to house internal combustion, hybrid, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.
“It is not clear what kind of bodystyle the cars will have, but it will be dedicated models rather than using an existing donor car as we do now with the ix35,” said Kia’s head of fuel cell research, Dr Sae-Hoon Kim. Citing the Toyota Mirai, Kim noted that a bespoke hydrogen fuel cell model can be designed for additional cooling compared to electric or gas-engine vehicles.
Kia’s new hydrogen fuel stack will be 15 percent more compact than the current setup and deliver 10 percent more performance. The estimated range is in the ballpark of 500 miles and the dedicated HFC vehicle should top out at 105 mph.
Before you jump to the newly introduced Stinger GT, Martins made it clear that vehicle will remain performance oriented for the time being. With the Sorento crossover due for a new generation soon, it might be the perfect architecture for Kia’s hydrogen plans. Should the HFC model be a hit, Kia will roll out the technology to other models in its lineup.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology may be Kia’s best bet to achieve reduced CO2 emissions. Complemented by several new engines and plenty of hybrid, PHEV, and EV models, Kia could have one of the cleanest fleets in just four years’ time. Kia says this process will create thousands of jobs and cost billions of dollars.
As more companies join Toyota, Kia-Hyundai, GM, and Honda in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, this tech could very well rival or exceed the current growth of battery-electric vehicles.