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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Road Trip

2020's Best pop-up travel trailers

The pop-up travel trailers on this list are priced for budget-conscious travelers and those with larger amounts to spend.

Photo courtesy of OPUS

As U.S. states begin relaxing shelter-in-place restrictions due to COVID-19, many Americans are going to find it hard to resist the urge to get outdoors and away from home. One popular pursuit will undoubtedly be camping under the stars.

Pop-up travel trailers are a great option for those wanting to maintain a healthy amount of social distancing — sleeping off the ground in an actual bed — insulated from the elements and other campers. An economical addition for active outdoorsy families, pop-ups can be decked out with comforts similar to larger fifth-wheel trailers or even full-size RVs, yet offer compactness, maneuverability, convenience and lower cost when compared to larger recreational vehicles.

Read on for a sampling of unique pop-up travel trailers for 2020. Note that prices are sourced from manufacturer websites or NADA Guides.

Aliner Expedition

Photo courtesy of Aliner

Approx. Starting Price: $20,660
At 18 feet long, 84 inches wide with a road height of 68 inches, the Expedition has the biggest footprint of any Aliner trailer, yet it is still has one of the fastest setup times among tent trailers. The company says Expeditions are a full 30 percent bigger than their other models, yet still only require about 30 seconds to pop up.

The Expedition comes in four floor plans, and three of those include an optional toilet. The Expedition has a standard slideout kitchen, yet the entire camper weighs less than 2,000 pounds so it can be towed by a variety of vehicles. There are other lower-priced Aliners, but the roomy Expedition is a true beauty.

AWOL Outdoors Camp365

Photo courtesy of AWOL Outdoors

Approx. Starting Price: $19,995
Billed as the "world's first fold-out cabin" as well as "the cabin that goes everywhere," the Camp365 is designed and built in Minnesota. The trailer's aluminum alloy steel reinforced frame offers light weight as well as strength and durability; the trailer's shell is aluminum too, so the unit weighs under 1,500 pounds. The cabin uses no wood or canvas that can mold, rip, rot or fade, and its aerodynamic shape makes the Camp365 easy to store as well as transport. It can be towed by any vehicle equipped with a Class I hitch — including most ATVs.

The Camp365 cabin is 700 cubic feet and has almost 40 cubic feet of dry storage, as well as five tinted windows; options include air-conditioning and heating, shower and bath, an off-road wheel kit, customized beds and more. The cabin can be configured for almost any occasion — even happy hour.

Coachmen Clipper Sport 108ST

Photo courtesy of Coachmen

Approx. Starting Price: $15,043
Weighing in at 2,687 pounds, the Coachmen Clipper Sport 108ST spans almost 17 feet closed; open it is more than 20 feet long thanks to the pull-out queen-size beds. The Clipper Sport features an E-coated tubular steel frame, a dual-drive winch, a Goshen lift system, a 4-layer laminated seamless roof, laminated fiberglass walls, LED exterior lights, and a power roof vent, to name a few.

Optional features for the Coachmen Clipper Sport include an Essentials Package with a 3-way power refrigerator, a 20,000 BTU furnace, an awning, electric brakes and a spare tire carrier. The Clipper Sport can also be outfitted with an exterior wall-mounted grill, a 40- or 80-watt Zamp portable solar panel, a screen room, a Thetford porta potty and a bike rack.

Coachmen Viking V-Trec

Photo courtesy of Coachmen

Approx. Starting Price: $16,595
Coachmen's Viking V-Trec comes in three different floor plans: the lowest-price V1 with a queen-size bed at each end; the V2 with a queen bed at one end and a king bed at the other end; and the V3 with a slide-out dinette as well as a queen bed at one end and a king-size bed over a full cargo deck on the other end.

Similar to the Clipper Sport, the Viking comes with many standard features as well as the Glide-N-Lock bed support system that eliminates the need for support poles under the beds. The V-Trec V3 weighs in at 4,42 pounds and has an exterior length of almost 22 feet. The V3 floor plan shown above includes a wet bath with a toilet and standup shower.

​Forest River Flagstaff 176SE

Photo courtesy of Forest River


Approx. Starting Price: $12,993
Forest River's entry-level Flagstaff 176SE is 12 feet long and weighs 1,772 pounds; it has a standard (42-inch wide) and a full (54-inch wide) bed at either end, as well as a sink, fridge, café table, range and cabinet storage in the living space. The Flagstaff model line has a Sports Enthusiast package designed for active families, couples and campers with a sense of adventure.

The Flagstaff trailers with the SE package have ProRac Systems crossbars to carry up to 150 pounds of gear and toys. The SEs also include an AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth, an MP3 player and USB ports for streaming and charging, LED lighting and a Wi-Fi booster. The Flagstaff SE series is also solar-ready, has 12 inches of ground clearance and 15-inch off-road wheels and tires.

​Forest River Rockwood 1640LTD

Photo courtesy of Forest River

Approx. Starting Price: $8,754
Another entry trailer that weighs less than 1,500 pounds (1,465 to be exact) yet sleeps six campers is the Forest River Rockwood Freedom Series 1640LTD (larger 2514F shown above, click to the video below to see full model walkaroud). The Rockwood Freedom series is all about giving tent trailer campers the ability to find the perfect camper for their needs. All Rockwoods are constructed with powder-coated tubular steel frames, rafter poles and bed bows; and one-piece doors.

Rockwoods also feature full perimeter aluminum bedframes and air-conditioning reinforcing laminated into the roof. Similar to the Flagstaff line, the Rockwood line can also be equipped with many optional features including awning lights, a refrigerator, heated mattresses, and ProRac bike and kayak racks.

​Jayco Jay Sport

Photo courtesy of Jayco

Approx. Starting Price: $13,770
The Jayco Jay Sport is still on dealer lots, but it is limited to stock on hand since this model is no longer being produced. The Jay Sport comes in four floor plans with base prices that range from $13,000 to 17,000. Lengths range from 8.5 to 18.5 feet with beds ranging from 42 to 70 inches in width. Jay Sport campers can also be equipped with a Baja Package that includes 15-inch Goodyear off-road tires, 5 additional inches of ground clearance as well as a double entry step to accommodate the extra height.

All Jay Sport versions have a sink, a hinged galley, a cabinet for a porta-potty, an indoor/outdoor stove, vinyl flooring and residential cabinets. Each floor plan also has a Customer Value Package consisting of an awning, a 28-gallon water tank, stabilizer jacks, a 2 cubic foot 3-way power reefer, front and rear black diamond plating and a spare tire. The option packages are additional cost.

​OPUS Off-Road 4-Sleeper

Approx. Starting Price: $29,000
The OPUS tent trailer has a unique setup system. The company says setup takes two minutes; all campers need to do is open the trailer, secure the bed ends and start the inflation system. The lower walls of the camper are constructed of aluminum dibond and polystyrene insulation, and the trailer sits on a powder-coated tubular frame. The trailer sections unfold with the aid of pressurized gas springs, allowing one-person setup.

The exterior of the OPUS also has a slideout kitchen including a slideout Dometic reefer and storage drawers. Inside, beds at each end sleep two each, and the interior can be configured in myriad ways to accommodate a sink, microwave, 2-burner stove, a table, a seating area and storage space.

​Somerset Grand Tour Utah

Photo courtesy of Somerset

Approx. Starting Price: $22,440
The Somerset line is part of the Aliner family, and both are owned by Columbia Northwest. The Utah is a great option because of its one-piece aluminum-skinned roof and Sunbrella tent fabric, as well as its steel wall construction. Exterior features include outside speakers, stabilizer jacks, allow wheels and chrome lug nuts.

All models in the Somerset line include indoor stoves, stereos, a water heater, a furnace, a water pump, a 3-way power refrigerator (propane, shore, battery), and a 35-amp converter with a charger. It's interesting to note that the Somerset series comes in only one floor plan, which the company says — after 40-plus years of building tent trailers — their one layout is best.

Sylvansport GO

Photo courtesy of Sylvansport

Approx. Starting Price: $8,995
One of the most versatile trailers on this list, the Sylvansport GO is a camper, gear hauler and utility trailer all in one. The innovative, lightweight design lets active families use the GO for many applications — from camping under the stars to hauling a washer and dryer home from a big box store. The TIG-welded, powder-coated aluminum frame and diamond-plate aluminum deck stand up to abuse.

As a camper, the GO features a versatile tent floor plan. The tent material is made from 220-denier ripstop nylon, and Sylvansport offers attachable awnings and accessories to make the GO an even bigger camp tool. One might be tempted to call the Sylvansport GO the Swiss Army knife of tent trailers.

​TAXA Outdoors Cricket

Photo courtesy of TAXA

Approx. Starting Price: $34,983
What we would call a literal pop-top trailer, the TAXA Outdoors Cricket is a fully hard-sides trailer that raises its roof in a cantilever style when set up. The 15-foot Cricket has a powder-coated steel chassis, a laser-cut aluminum skeleton, it weighs 1,800 pounds and sleeps two adults and two children. TAXA calls the Cricket a "NASA-inspired design."

The Cricket has many features as standard equipment including a large picture window, a generous kitchen area with a counter and sink, interior LED lighting, a Truma combo furnace and water heater, an exterior hot and cold shower, a roof exhaust fan and 12 USB ports. Options include a porta-potty, Thule load bars, a kids' berth and a Dometic refrigerator.

Turtleback Adventure Trail

Photo courtesy of Turtleback Trailers

Approx. Starting Price: $18,495
Although there is an entry-level trailer called the Adventure at $12,995, the one to get it is the next level up: the Turtleback Adventure Trail. All the standard features of the Adventure are there, including the CNC-cut, galvanized steel trailer with bedliner coating, Timbren suspension, forward and aft receiver hitches, a full aluminum floor and main box, and an OZtent Outer Ridge Venturer trailer tent with a fully enclosed room and awning.

The Adventure Trail also has a full single-battery electrical system, an interior / exterior lighting kit, 12-volt socket and USB ports, a kitchen with maple-topped birch cabinetry as well as a stove and a Dometic stainless steel sink, a 21-gallon BPA-free water tank with on-demand pump, and an 11-pound tank for accessory grills, heaters, etc. And this is not even a complete list of features or equipment. Finally, proud Turtleback owners (and wannabees) attend "Herd of Turtle Gatherings" throughout the country during temperate months.

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