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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Frightening security

Boston Dynamics' robot to patrol Kia factory

The robot is being tested as a security patrol unit.

Hyundai

Breaking into an auto manufacturing facility was already a very bad idea, but new security tech being tested by Hyundai Motor Group makes it downright terrifying as well. In addition to cameras, sensors, and armed security guards, would-be burglars at a Kia plant in South Korea now have to face off with a semi-autonomous robot dog.

The Boston Dynamics quadruped robot, named Spot, is being tested as a safer and more effective way of providing security patrols to the plant. The dog is one of several robots designed and tested by the firm, which has long terrified the internet with its physically capable electronic beings.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robot The robot uses various sensors to detect danger and intruders.Hyundai

If you haven't seen it, the Boston Dynamics robot dog is frightening enough on its own, so it's an excellent choice to provide factory security. The robot uses an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR to detect people around it, and can monitor high-temperature situations and fire hazards. It can be controlled remotely through a secure webpage, which allows personnel to see what's going on in the factory without putting themselves in danger.

The robot is capable of navigating tight spaces and can identify issues not visible to the human eye. It's also able to semi-autonomously navigate its environment, and has been developed with task management and deep learning-based vision technology. Boston Dynamics says that its tech can be expanded to other types of robot platforms.



The robot dog is currently in the pilot stage at Kia's plant in South Korea. It will be used to support late-night security patrols and increase safety for workers. Hyundai Motor Group will assess the robot's effectiveness and suitability for the job before expanding its use in other industrial sites.

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The new Tiguan sports an all-new front-end design.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an interesting compact SUV with a fun-to-drive personality and plenty of style. After 14 years on sale, the Tiguan is just in its second generation, but VW has given it a significant update for the 2022 model year that brings new tech, updated styling, and a refreshed interior.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The rear has been massaged with new badging and standard LED taillights. Volkswagen

The restyled Tiguan is available in four trim levels: S, SE, and SE R-Line Black. All models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive can be optioned in.

Styling updates are the big story for the 2022 Tiguan. The front end is entirely new and carries design cues from the larger Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. LED headlights are now standard, and an illuminated light line is available for the SUV's grille. On the rear liftgate, the Tiguan model name lettering also mirrors that of the Atlas, with the name spelled out underneath the VW logo.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Most trims get an 8-inch touchscreen.Volkswagen

Inside, the Tiguan now comes standard with heated seats, while a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard, while mid-range trims get leatherette. The top SEL R-Line comes with leather and a perforated leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Front-wheel drive models come standard with three rows of seating as well, making the Tiguan one of the more family-friendly vehicles in its class.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The top trim gets upscale leather upholstery.Volkswagen

The base Tiguan S comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen running Volkswagen's excellent MIB 2 software, but all others get MIB 3 infotainment software running on a glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen. The automaker notes that it's a capacitive touch system, which functions more like a smartphone than other infotainment systems, which sometimes require pressure to register a touch input. All Tiguans get a digital gauge cluster with an 8-inch display, while the top SEL R-Line upgrades to a 10.25-inch configurable gauge cluster that offers full-screen navigation and other views.

Pricing for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,995 for the base S trim with front-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the prices to $27,495. All Tiguan models will see a $1,195 destination charge tacked on at the bottom line.

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