500kW, rear-wheel drive, and 0-100km/h in under four seconds. Could Hyundai, Kia and Genesis be getting a family of hydrogen sports cars?
Hydrogen is about to hit the racetrack, as Hyundai takes the wraps off the Vision FK: a high-performance, rear-wheel drive sports car prototype that runs on hydrogen, has a 500kW fuel cell system, can do 0-100km/h in under four seconds and has a 600km driving range.
But there’s no word on when the Vision FK will go into production.
The Hyundai Vision FK prototype was unveiled today as part of Hyundai Motor Group’s (HMG) Hydrogen Vision 2040 strategy, which sets out the company’s vision for the future of hydrogen energy and a global hydrogen society.
In addition to the Vision FK, Hyundai Motor Group confirmed that the new third-generation Nexo fuel cell SUV would launch in 2023, followed by a fuel-cell-powered version of the just-launched Staria people mover.
There was no official word on when the Vision FK – the result of a collaboration between Hyundai and electric sports car maker Rimac in which Hyundai bought a $900m stake in 2019 – could go from prototype to production.
Instead, Hyundai’s head of research and development, Albert Biermann, suggested the Vision FK’s platform and powertrain could underpin a number of different models for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.
“The Vision FK will become the basis for mass-produced, hydrogen-powered, high-performance vehicles in the future,” Biermann confirmed at the Vision FK’s reveal.
The Vision FK prototype is still very much in development, and there’s plenty of work still to be done, says Biermann. He says he hopes some of the development will be in motorsport, which he sees as important to Hyundai furthering its hydrogen leadership in the automotive sector.
“We are really working hard on high powered fuel cells with different chemistries and so on. The time will come when the competition is very tough [for] sports cars [and even in] motor sports. This is a good exercise to compete in racing and drive the development forward for fuel cell technology to achieve new performance levels [especially around] thermal integration systems.
“This is the charming part of a project like Vision FK. We are taking the challenge and driving fuel cell technology forward.
“Competing in motorsport will help accelerate the development.”
Few technical specifications around the Vision FK prototype were released. The car appears to be based on a Kia Stinger (sans its rear doors), and we do know that it combines a fuel-cell energy converter with a high-power, rear-wheel drive, plug-in powertrain that Biermann says “aims to achieve 600km in range”.
Biermann says current fuel-cell vehicles cannot compete with battery electric vehicles. Not yet, at least.
“With fuel cell car we cannot beat the battery electric vehicle right now. But this is just starting and the potential for fuel cell technology has not fully been deployed yet.
Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of Drive.com.au before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons.