Built in partnership with electric performance startup Rimac, this hydrogen plug-in hybrid sports-car concept is one of a kind.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Most of the talk around Hyundai's newly announced Hydrogen Vision 2040 plan revolves around the full conversion of the automaker's commercial fleet to fuel cell tech. Hyundai grabbed my attention, however, when it rolled out the Vision FK concept, a 670-horsepower fuel cell plug-in hybrid sports car.
As best as I can tell through the digital camouflage, the Vision FK looks a lot like a mid-engined, PHEV version of Kia's Stinger -- the proportions and roofline are almost bang-on. However, there's an intake of sorts where the rear doors should be and the wheel arches, particularly the rears, feature wide body flares. I also noticed almost no engine noise as the concept ripped around a virtual track in the teaser clip.
Underneath the sheet metal is a 500-kilowatt dual-motor powertrain -- around 670 horsepower -- built in partnership with electric performance startup Rimac Automobili. Hyundai invested around $90 million in Rimac just a few years ago, so the two are pretty tight. With a motor for each rear wheel, the Vision FK is capable of torque vectoring around corners and through drifts. Put the power down right and this car is said to sprint from 0 to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in under 4 seconds.
Providing juice for the electric powertrain is a plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel-cell system. It appears to be based on Hyundai's new third-gen fuel cell stack, which is mated to a large plug-in battery pack. Like any plug-in hybrid, the concept can be plugged in to charge the battery for an undisclosed amount of pure electric range, which is augmented by the fuel cell stack acting as an on the go generator maintaining the battery's charge for as long as there's hydrogen in the tanks. (Yes, plural tanks; like many FCEVs, the Vision FK uses two cylindrical tanks.)
With a full charge and its tanks full, the Vision FK concept will cruise for around 372 miles (600 km) before needing to stop. That's not much better than today's best EVs, but consider that refueling takes just 5 minutes -- about the same as a gasoline fill-up.
Albert Biermann, Head of R&D Division at Hyundai Motors and Kia, called the concept "a bit of technical overkill" during its debut, and I'm inclined to agree based on the first impression, but that makes it no less awesome.
Still in the highly conceptual phase, there is no timeline for when we could expect to see something like the Vision FK on the road. In the meantime, the Hyundai is hard at work on the next-generation Nexo SUV which Biermann says could arrive as soon as late 2023, along with a hydrogen version of its stunning Staria MPV -- a model we don't get here in the States.