World Car News #Update
Automakers from all over the world have set their differences aside to brace up for the next big game in clean transportation, fuel cells.
One of such is the latest partnership is between Audi and Hyundai which announced their intention to share resources to develop fuel-cell vehicles.
The two said that the first fruit of this partnership will be a full-size Audi crossover SUV planned to go into production in small numbers “in the beginning of the next decade,” perhaps as early as two years from now. Reading between the lines, it could be a fuel-cell version of the upcoming electric Audi e-tron SUV.
Hyundai has been an early adopter of fuel-cell technology, releasing the Tucson fuel-cell vehicle in California in 2013, and it plans to release its next-generation Nexo fuel-cell SUV next year. Neither Audi nor its parent Volkswagen has yet produced a fuel-cell car for public consumption.
Audi board member for Technical Development Peter Mertens called fuel cells “the most systematic form of electric driving,” and “emission-free premium mobility of the future.”
The potential advantage fuel-cell cars have over battery electric cars is their ability to refuel quickly for more than 300 miles of range on a fill-up. Merten’s statement may indicate that at least some automakers are planning to market fuel-cell vehicles as a premium upgrade to battery electric cars based on their fast refueling and their ability to make spur-of-the-moment long trips.
Building out a network of hydrogen filling stations, however, is still a massive challenge, especially in light of longer-range battery electric cars and 350-kw fast chargers coming online.