September 9, 2003


Hyundai to enter new fuel cell/electric hybrid SUV in rally

Fountain Valley, California – Showcasing the latest advancements in alternative fuel technology, Hyundai Motor Company will debut its Santa Fe Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FCHEV) at this year’s Challenge Bibendum. The Santa Fe FCHEV, which recaptures lost energy when braking to provide greater fuel efficiency, will join the proven Santa Fe Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) in competing against other alternative energy vehicles Sept. 22-25 in Sonoma and San Francisco, Calif.

Both Hyundai prototypes are powered by compressed hydrogen gas, which combines with oxygen in the vehicles fuel cell stack to produce electricity that powers the car. The only emission is water vapor from the tailpipe. The Santa Fe FCHEV offers greater efficiency by storing energy typically lost during the braking process in an onboard battery. When the vehicle needs additional power, such as during acceleration, reserved battery power is tapped. The result is that the Santa Fe FCHEV performs more like a standard internal combustion engine vehicle than any other fuel cell vehicle Hyundai has developed.

“Challenge Bibendum offers Hyundai the opportunity to showcase advanced, environmentally friendly vehicles to an International audience and we look forward to participating again this year,” said Dr. Won-Suk Cho, President, Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc., which is responsible for alternative fuel research in the United States. “The true challenge for Hyundai will be improving on the strong benchmarks we set in 2001 and demonstrating the steps we’ve taken towards commercializing fuel cell technology in the past two years.”

In the 2001 Challenge Bibendum, the Santa Fe FCEV earned gold medals in both the emissions and noise tests, and received silver medals for its performance in the slalom and fuel efficiency tests. The Santa Fe FCEV’s solid performance in 2001 proved that Hyundai’s fuel cell technology was ready for real-world applications and Hyundai recently announced the beginning of its fuel cell fleet testing program, scheduled to begin in late 2004.

The hydrogen fuel cell system that powers each Hyundai vehicles’ motor was developed by UTC Fuel Cells of South Windsor, Conn., part of the UTC Power unit of United Technologies Corp. Enova Systems of Torrance, Calif., which supplies the electric drivetrain, motor and control unit. The onboard hydrogen storage tank was developed by Quantum Technologies.

Challenge Bibendum

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