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Kia Borrego fuel cell prototype
Meanwhile, still working out hydrogen-related problems

Just when fully electric vehicles have become a mainstream reality and will be available before the year is up,  new advancements in hydrogen fuel cell technology are following closely behind. This is triggering Kia to declare their hopes of becoming the world leader in hydrogen vehicles as soon as 2015.

Later this year, Kia plans to sell their first hydrogen vehicles to research institutions and government fleets. As early as 2012, they hope to release these vehicles to the public, and by 2015 would like to have 10,000 fuel cell vehicles sold to consumers. Kia aims to reach these goals by continuing progress on vehicles like the Kia Borrego FCEV, a hydrogen SUV that can reach 60 mph in 12 seconds and has a top speed of 106 mph.  The vehicle is capable of covering 375 miles before needing to refuel. 

While this mission looks promising, considering the staff of just 150 engineers at Kia's Eco Tech Research Institute in Mabuk, Korea, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out before hydrogen vehicles can hit the market.

One major concern is the relatively nonexistent refueling infrastructure. Fuel companies are skeptical about investing in hydrogen fill stations when there are so few vehicles on the road. Although global demand for oil is expected to increase over the coming years and the cost of hydrogen will fall, making fuel cell vehicles that much more alluring to consumers. Also, SunHydro, the world's first chain of privately funded fueling stations that provide hydrogen, plans to transform Interstate 95 into a hydrogen highway.

Fortunately, some earlier hydrogen vehicle problems concerning cold starting and safety issues have been resolved. Kia ran several tests with varied temperatures from minus 40 degrees up to 70 degrees on water left in the fuel stack and front, side and rear impact tests as well as a vehicle fire test have been successfully conducted on hydrogen vehicles. 

Other issues still remain, though, including concerns about price and insurance. Kia has admitted that getting insurance on these vehicles would be "impossible" because so much about hydrogen vehicles are new and unknown. This is expected to change over the next few years as more technological advancements are made. Also, the cost of hydrogen vehicles would be high because fuel stacks are so expensive.

The year 2015 is a ways off and Kia plans to fix these hydrogen-related problems along the way, but it looks as though test drivers are already impressed with the hydrogen vehicles saying the Kia Borrego FCEV is "above all, a smooth, smooth ride."



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KIA
By Spookster on 5/26/2010 1:05:29 PM , Rating: 5
Hyrodgen Tank + Impact = Kia (Killed In Accident)




RE: KIA
By xler8r on 5/26/2010 1:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
Haha
*Remembers the Terminator chick throwing away her fuel cel battery and a baby mushroom cloud is produced* = Epic Win :D


RE: KIA
By B3an on 5/26/2010 6:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Terminator chick

I wasn't aware Arnie had a sex change (as this happens in T3 and he does it).


RE: KIA
By wiz220 on 5/26/2010 5:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
Certainly no more dangerous than gasoline. I believe with the right safety measures it can be made far safer than gas. They did say after all that they have DONE the crash testing and fire testing.


RE: KIA
By JediJeb on 5/26/2010 5:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Anything that would rupture the fuel tank would probably cause enough damage that you would have other things to worry about before the ruptured fuel cell. One nasty thing about gasoline when a tank ruptures is that the fuel spills and runs below the vehicle, and when set on fire will slowly roast you if it doesn't explode. Hydrogen will quickly rise above you and disperse into the air when a tank is ruptured, at worse you have a fire above you if it does not explode. If either explodes then you are in pretty much the same shape regardless of the fuel, which is very bad.


RE: KIA
By S3anister on 5/26/2010 6:13:49 PM , Rating: 3
KIA jokes aside, if they can produce a decent hydrogen vehicle for me to possibly consider buying, I say bring it on! We need more hydrogen vehicles so we get more competition, better adoption, lower prices.


RE: KIA
By martinrichards23 on 5/27/2010 4:41:31 AM , Rating: 2
Petrol is almost certainly more dangerous.


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