Hyundai, which leapfrogged rivals Honda and Toyota in offering a hydrogen-powered vehicle to the American public in 2014, is ready for another leap: a next-generation fuel cell vehicle to be introduced and identified by name today, Jan. 8, at CES in Las Vegas.
Again, the automaker will use a crossover as the host for its fuel cell technology, but this time, it rides on a purpose-built platform, departing from the modified Tucson that was Hyundai's first fuel cell showcase.
Hyundai said last week that the fuel cell vehicle will feature its latest driver-assistance technology. It will also be the next test vehicle for advanced autonomous-driving systems being developed under a new partnership with Aurora, a Silicon Valley self-driving technology company led by Chris Urmson, who was part of Google's self-driving car project until 2016. Hyundai said the fuel cell system is well-suited to delivering reliable power for the banks of sensors and processors needed for autonomous operation.
The crossover, which has been spotted during testing on public roads, is expected to go on sale in the U.S. this year. It will join a slew of eight new or redesigned crossovers Hyundai has planned for the U.S. by 2020 and complement Hyundai's Ioniq line of electrified vehicles, which includes a gasoline-electric hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle.
Other models include the new Kona subcompact crossover and an all-electric Kona, a yet-to-be announced A-segment model slotted below the Kona and a larger, eight-passenger model to replace the current Santa Fe.
The U.S. fuel cell vehicle market is largely confined to California, which has the vast majority of the nation's public hydrogen filling stations.