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Hyundai Makes Play for Leadership of Fuel Cell EV Market

Automaker Seeks Dominant Position in Fuel Cell Vehicles

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Hyundai unveiled its next-generation fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) concept car, Blue2, at the recent 2011 Seoul Motor Show, showcasing the technology behind the concept car, the company’s first sedan-style fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) powered by hydrogen.

Building a Fuel Cell EV Brand

Along with Blue2, Hyundai introduced its first gasoline-hybrid model, the Sonata Hybrid, to Korea. The automaker utilized the show to pump up its fuel cell and eco-brand image with its marketing display and technology exhibited at the show. Hyundai is attempting to position itself not as the largest or dominant fuel cell player in the eco-car market, but according to company president and CEO Steve Yan, it is striving to position the company as one focusing on building relationships with its green-minded customers, mindful of contributions to a greener society and not just company bottom line. Will it succeed? The jury is still out.

Hyundai’s new concept car, Blue2, is a mid-size fuel cell electric vehicle and it's hard not to guess it will serve as a blueprint for future eco-sedans for the company. The company says it came up with the unique name by coming its 'Blue Drive' branding and the number 2 from H2, the chemical symbol for hydrogen. Hyundai’s introduction of the fuel cell electric sedan is seen by many industry watchers as a play for gaining early leadership in the fuel cell vehicle market.

Fuel Cell Pay-off

Its latest concept car’s fuel cell electric system will deliver 90kW and fuel economy of around 82 mpg. Its design is meant to be futuristic with a luxury sportscar feel and plenty of eco-friendly features, including tires and alloy wheels designed for better aerodynamic performance. The interior continues the green emphasis with eco-friendly new materials, according to Hyundai.

A unique feature of this concept car is exterior LED screen panels located on both the front and rear of the car, designed to give a picture of the vehicle’s condition. Blue2 also features a welcome system that recognizes the driver, along with a door-opening system for the driver. Rather than conventional side mirrors, it features side cameras as well as a roof camera, offering a perfect picture of the driving environment. The company says advanced technology enhances the vividness of the information system.

Finally, Hyundai’s concept car uses a cluster ionizer the company says will freshen the air inside the vehicle and anti-bacterial leather seats to top off this eco-friendly sedan.

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