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Hyundai Motor Takes a Step Towards the First Environment-Friendly 4X4

2001.07.13 No. 79
Hyundai Motor is quickly moving towards the first environment-friendly sports utility vehicle that could be used in every-day motoring with its Santa Fe fuel-cell project. The company has already joined the California Fuel Cell Partnership with its Santa Fe vehicle powered an International Fuel Cells motor and now in conjunction with Quantum Technologies Worldwide Inc., it has equipped the vehicle with a realistic hydrogen fuel tank. Until now no auto-maker has been able to equip its test vehicles with a tank capable of holding hydrogen at more than 3,600 pounds per square inch, but the Quantum Technologies tank can store the hydrogen needed for the fuel cell motor at pressures of up to 5,000psi. Realistic operation The high pressure is needed to store sufficient hydrogen for the vehicle to be used in realistic operation by allowing a longer range in the same space and so not reducing luggage space. Quantum Technologies worked with the Hyundai America Technical Centre to develop the all-new fuel system that brings clean motoring one step closer. The tank even allows the vehicle to maintain its ground clearance at over eight inches - essential for a vehicle that can be used away from the highway - so bringing the Santa Fe fuel-cell vehicle closer to the expectations of customers. Unique design The Quantum Technologies tank is of a unique design that allows Hyundai to make a major leap forward in the race to have a fuel cell vehicle ready for the market. The tank consists of three layers; a permeation-resistant liner, a carbon composite middle layers for strength in resisting the pressures and a tough outer shell for impact protection. Yet the finished item is still light enough to make traditional hydrogen storage tanks redundant. The tank allows the maximum amount of hydrogen to be stored in the smallest possible space. Carrying highly pressurized hydrogen requires a very safe tank and the Quantum Technologies design meets all the demands of practicality and security that will allow the Hyundai Santa Fe Fuel Cell project to make considerable advances. Although fuel cell vehicles are still several years from the showroom in affordable and realistic form, this development is allowing Hyundai Motor to move closer to the aim of the non-polluting motor vehicle.
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