Crossovers

Hooked on H: Hyundai to debut new fuel-cell system in 2018

Its next hydrogen-powered vehicle won't be a retrofit of an existing model, like the current Tucson Fuel Cell.

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2016 Tucson Fuel Cell

Compressed hydrogen gas isn't any less dangerous, per se, than traditional gasoline, but its sole byproduct sure is.

Hyundai

The home field advantage isn't just a myth. Look at the number of debuts that happen during the Detroit auto show, and you'll see that automakers love dropping new models and tech on home turf. Korean automaker Hyundai is gearing up for a similar advantage, as it hopes to debut its new hydrogen fuel cell system shortly before South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics.

The automaker will whip out its latest green tech in 2018, Automotive News reports. The fuel cell system won't be a standalone innovation -- rather, it'll arrive under the hood of a "totally new" utility vehicle, according to a member of Hyundai's green-car team. Hyundai will continue to develop its fuel cell system alone, without help from any joint venture.

This new system is set to feature a more capacious battery, a smaller electric motor with higher output and a smaller overall footprint. It'll also use less platinum within its catalyst, which should help bring costs down. The system will be shown off at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. AN reports that a fuel-cell bus might be in the cards for 2018, as well.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use compressed hydrogen gas as a fuel source. That gas is fed into a fuel cell, which reacts with the gas, creating electricity that powers electric motors. The main byproduct is good ol' dihydrogen monoxide, otherwise known as water. Hyundai currently sells one fuel-cell vehicle, the Tucson Fuel Cell, of which it has sold fewer than 1,000 units.

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