i-Blue – Hyundai’s third generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
By Mike Hanlon
September 4, 2007
September 5, 2007 The Frankfurt Motor Show is the premier European show of the year this year and not surprisingly, the manufacturers are all putting their best environmental foot forward. For relatively new international auto companies such as Hyundai which don’t have a history of premium design to fall back on, they have to work much harder to make waves in an international showcase and from the photos at least, this work appears to have paid off. Three new cars will be unveiled by Hyundai at Frankfurt, and the two concept cars are beauties.
First of the trio to be revealed at the show, which opens to the public on 13 September, will be the i-Blue Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.
i-Blue will be joined by the Veloster, a stunning coupe concept, and the production version of the hugely practical i30 estate.
In keeping with this year’s IAA show theme of sustainability and climate protection, the i-Blue demonstrates a significant step towards commercialisation of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Hyundai is making tremendous efforts to achieve mass production using the technology within the next decade.
The hydrogen-powered, zero-emission concept was developed at Hyundai’s Design and Technical Centre in Chiba, Japan. The all-new platform is tailored to use Hyundai’s third-generation fuel cell technology, currently being developed at the company’s Eco-Technology Research Institute in Mabuk, Korea.
Unlike its predecessors, which were built on SUV platforms, the i-Blue is a new D-segment 2+2 crossover utility vehicle (CUV).
“The i-Blue is Hyundai’s first-ever model designed from the ground up to incorporate fuel cell technology, marking a tremendous leap forward for our R&D; program,” said Dr Hyun-Soon Lee, President of Research and Development. “Our engineering team has successfully designed a more compact fuel cell vehicle, while still realising the safety, comfort, convenience and driving range of a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle.”
Styled at Hyundai’s Design and Technical Centre at Namyang, the Veloster coupe is the third in a series of daring concept cars to be developed by the company’s central styling studio in Korea. The Veloster name, a combination of velocity and roadster, evokes the sporty characteristics of a sporty two-plus-two. A panoramic glass roof and other futuristic styling cues help project a high-tech image.
Designed to cater to the tastes of the so-called Y-generation, Veloster combines simple, iconic design with good value and robust construction.
“With Veloster, we wanted to try something really different. We’re keenly aware that we need radically new products for the Y-generation, the first-time buyer in their twenties,” said Oh Suk-Geun, Hyundai’s vice president of design. “This is really a bold new direction.”
Following the successful launch earlier this year of the i30 5-door hatchback, Hyundai is proud to introduce an even more spacious version. Like its 5-door sibling, the i30 Estate was styled at the Hyundai’s Design Centre in Russelsheim ensuring that it is perfectly in tune with European tastes.
A stretched wheelbase ensures that the i30 has an appetite for luggage which would embarrass many cars from the next segment up.
Full details and prices will be revealed nearer the model’s international launch in early 2008.