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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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