Milestones

Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered vehicles have been around long enough to buy beer

It's been over 21 years since Hyundai began working on hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

The year was 1998. America was learning the lurid details of President Clinton's sex life in the Oval Office and Viagara was approved. Mark Maguire and Sammy Sosa battled for the single-season home run record and captivated the country. Later that year, John Glenn would return to space.

That's the same year that Hyundai Motor Group began developing Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technology, establishing a dedicated research team. The project, in collaboration with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) was dubbed "Project Mercury" (whether of not that is because of John Glenn's affiliation with the Mercury Seven or just a coincidence has yet to be confirmed).

How Fuel Cell Vehicles Work | Nexo | Hyundai www.youtube.com

That project developed a number of vehicles of increasing capability until it ended with the Mercury II, which was developed on the JM Tucson platform with an 80 kW fuel cell system, 337 km range and the ability to start from temperatures as low as -20°C.

Polaris

In conjunction with the Korean Government's G7 Project, which recognized a need for Korea to develop scientific and technological intellectual property of its own lessening its reliance on other countries and establishing itself as an authority, Hyundai launched the Polaris project. That project led Hyundai to independently develop complete fuel cell systems. The Polaris II had an an output of 80 kW and a range of 370 km.

Hydrogen transportation at the 2006 World Cup

Hyundai hydrogen bus

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

In 2005, Hyundai had developed its first fuel cell bus with a 160 kW fuel cell system and an operating range of 380 km. The company used the bus to transport attendees of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. This marked the first time a Hyundai bus was certified for use on European roads.

2007 Tucson FCEV

Hyundai Tucson FCEV

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Years before it started in on FCEV tech, Hyundai started in-house electric vehicle (EV) research. The 2007 Tucson FCEV (shown above) unified the efforts of both teams delivering an output of 100 kW and a range of 370 km. Two years later, the second generation of the fuel cell bus was introduced, offering 200 kW of power and a range of 380 km.

Eighteen years after the project began, it hit a significant milestone. The accumulative distance covered by all Hyundai FCEVs in hit the two million km mark in 2010. That same year, the ix35 FCEV prototype was launched. Notably, the concept car used a 100 kW fuel cell system and 700 bar storage to produce a NEDC-certified 594 km range.

Hyundai Intrado

Hyundai Intrado Concept Car Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Intrado concept (shown above) debuted at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show showing how FCEVs could be used and adapted using advanced materials like high-strength steel and carbon fiber. It also showed off the evolved power of fuel cell technology offering a hybrid lithium-ion 36 kW battery, with a range of over 600 km.

One year later, Hyundai was selling ix35 fuel cells globally, including in the U.K. where 17 customers began driving FCEVs for daily use.

Hyundai FE Fuel Cell

Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Car SUV Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

By 2017 the FE Fuel Cell concept (shown above) was making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. It was longer, lower, and wider than the ix35. It also featured new drivetrain technology including a fuel cell stack that was 20 percent lighter than its predecessor, but delivers 30 percent more range, bumping that number to over 800 km.

Welcome, Nexo

2018 Hyundai Nexo

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

In 2018, Hyundai launched Nexo, the world's first production fuel cell SUV. In comparison to the ix35 Fuel Cell, Nexo offers a 25 percent faster acceleration rate, increased torque and 40 percent more range. Its 135 kW powertrain and three reinforced carbon fiber/plastic fuel tanks allow Nexo to deliver a range of 665 km.

Fuel Cell Vision 2030 was announced following the launch of Nexo, upping the company's commitment to hydrogen. Hyundai Motor Group has committed to boost annual fuel-cell system production capacity to 700,000 units by 2030 and explore opportunities to expand the possible usage of fuel cells, including in industrial settings.

Rimac investment

In May 2019, the Hyundai Motor Group announced an investment of €80 million in Rimac, the high-performance electric car company perhaps best known stateside as producing the Concept One car that "The Grand Tour" presenter Richard Hammond crashed and nearly died in. With this move, Hyundai joined Porsche, has a 15.5 percent stake in the company, in betting on the future.

Together, Hyundai and Rimac have been working closely together to develop prototypes for both an electric version of Hyundai's N brand mid-ship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle with the intent to bring them to market.

Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility

Last September, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and H2 Energy, was born. The duo teamed up with Hydrospider, a venture to promote a green hydrogen ecosystem in Switzerland and other European countries. As part of this partnership, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility plans to bring 1,600 Hyundai H2 Xcient Fuel Cell Electric Trucks to market. The truck features a new 190 kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 95 kW fuel cell stacks connected in parallel. It delivers a single-fueling travel range of more than 400 km, with a fuel storage capacity of almost 35 kg of hydrogen.

Hyundai Generator

Hyundai showed that vehicles aren't the only application for fuel cell stacks, previewing the Hyundai Generator, a portable charging station for electric vehicles, at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Hyundai Generator consists of two fuel cell stacks and combined hydrogen storage, giving the ability to charge two EVs simultaneously at high speed. Hyundai will be providing the Hyundai Generator as a recharging system for all the cars that are part of the eTCR (Electric Touring Car Racing) championship.

Hyundai and Audi

Hyundai isn't keeping all the FCEV tech to itself. They have recently partnered with Audi, which has allowed the manufacturers to share fuel cell technology developments with each other.

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All-new sports sedans

All-new 2022 Audi A3 and S3 coming soon

The 2022 A3 gets sharper styling.

Audi

The Audi A3 and S3 might be small, but both cars bring benchmark performance and luxury to the compact side of the premium market. The cars have been totally overhauled for the 2022 model year, and pick up new powertrain tech, updated interiors, and sharper styling.

Audi says that the A3 is wider and more aggressively styled than its predecessor, and notes that it will carry a new, wider grille and headlight design. The S3 is now longer and wider than before, and will sport a larger, more aggressive exhaust system.


2022 Audi A3 The A3's interior gets new color options for 2022.Audi


The 2022 A3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The powertrain also gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid boost for the first time in 2021, which will provide better take-off acceleration and can allow the car to coast with the engine off.

The S3 derives 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is a bump of 18 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque over its predecessor. Audi says that the new powertrain configuration allows the 2022 S3 to sprint from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. The S3 also benefits from a .6-inch drop in ride height and new available S sport suspension with damper control that can be adjusted with drive mode selections from the cockpit.


2022 Audi S3 The sporty S3 has also been redesigned for 2022.Audi


The A3's interior brings standard heated setas with eight-way power adjustment, a standard panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. Two new color options are available for the 2021 A3, including Santos Brown with Steel Gray stitching and Parchment Beige with Steel Gray stitching. The S3 gets new power-adjustable S sport seats, and can be upgraded inside with diamond-stitched Nappa leather upholstery.

A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard for both cars, along with a 10.25-inch digital gauge display. Audi's virtual cockpit system, which can project maps and other information into the gauge cluster, is available with a 12.3-inch gauge upgrade option. A head-up display is also available for the first time in both cars.


2022 Audi S3 The S3's interior has been updated with new seats.Audi


Audi includes a few advanced driver aids as standard equipment, which include forward collision warnings, high-beam assist, lane departure warnings, and a pre-collision system that shuts windows and pretensions seatbelts. Most features are optional, and include a parking assistance system, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and more.

The 2022 Audi A3 will have a starting price of $34,945, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The A3 Quattro will start at $36,945 and the 2021 S3 will have a starting price of $45,945.

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Audi is adding new features to its MIB 3 system.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Starting in 2020, Audi began installing its next-gen MIB 3 infotainment system throughout its lineup. Two years on, the German automaker is adding new functionalities to the system including integrated Amazon Alexa.

The latest MIB 3 infotainment features are anticipated to be available starting summer and fall 2021 in 2022 Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, E-tron, and E-tron Sportback models. This includes Personalization 2.0, which allows users who have a saved profile to transfer their seat adjustment, radio station favorites, and climate control settings from vehicle to vehicle.

MIB 3 initially had Alexa as a push-to-talk function using steering wheel controls. For the new model year, Alexa will be able to be activate using "Alexa" voice commands within the cabin.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system Audi is expanding SiriusXM with 360L to more vehicles. Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Users will an Apple ID and active Audi connect Prime or Plus subscription will be able to log into their account and play Apple Music without needing to pair a phone.

Audi is expanding its SiriusXM with 360L to more models. The tech will be offered in the 2022 E-Tron GT with a subscription. It current is available in the 2021 Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback.

Android Auto users will be able to wirelessly connect to Audi systems on select vehicles starting with the 2022 model year. The Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback all will be enabled.

New features have been added to the myAudi app as well:

  • Select models now available with Function on Demand features, including MMI Navigation plus (select Audi A4, A5, and Q5 Premium and Premium Plus models), and Light Function Package (Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback Premium models); more features to be added at a later date
  • A revised e-tron route planner for electric vehicles that can sort public charging stations with a greater level of detail between Level 2 AC chargers and Level 3 DC fast chargers
  • Additionally, all MIB 2, MIB 2+, and MIB 3 users will be able to enjoy a revised myAudi app with easier-to-use functionality

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