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Hyundai reveals aircraft-inspired Intrado fuel cell concept


February 24, 2014

The Intrado is a vision of a car that's "easy to use, intuitive to interact with, and readily adaptable to the varying demands of their busy, active lifestyles."

The Intrado is a vision of a car that's "easy to use, intuitive to interact with, and readily adaptable to the varying demands of their busy, active lifestyles."

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In revealing the all-new Intrado concept, Hyundai has set out to demonstrate how "advanced vehicle technologies and intelligent design can combine to engage more effectively with driver and passengers." The new concept combines aircraft-inspired design with a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

The Intrado shows a vision for a light, streamlined vehicle that focuses on aerodynamics and clean driving. A body of super-lightweight steel is dressed over top a carbon fiber structure. To make the design sleeker and lighter, Hyundai strips much of the usual detailing and decoration from the exterior, keeping focus on the structural materials themselves.

"In line with its promise of a motoring future that is more relevant to users’ lifestyles, we have given Intrado a distinctive exterior and interior shape, formed from the lightweight frame that incorporates only what is necessary," Thomas Bürkle, Chief Designer at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre, explains. "The exterior is defined by a simple yet sporty profile which displays the latest interpretation of fluidic sculpture, while the interior shows how minimal ornamentation will perfectly fit into the varied lifestyles of the millennial generation."

In leaving unnecessary materials at the factory, the Intrado's interior highlights elements of the car that are usually concealed, including the carbon fiber frame below the seats and "see-through" air vents. Bright "Beaufort Orange" trim adds some visual flair.

The Intrado's focus on light, functional design was inspired by the world of aircraft, which also lends the concept its name. Hyundai describes the Intrado as the underside of an aircraft's wing.

Hyundai hasn't revealed motor details, but it says that the greater powertrain uses a 36 kWh li-ion battery pack, providing up to 373 miles (600 km) of driving per hydrogen fill-up.

Hyundai will debut the Intrado concept at next week's Geneva Motor Show. Gizmag will be in Geneva, bringing you the latest news from around the auto world.

Source: Hyundai

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

I think this is really nice. I think fuel cells is the future. I think it will make the electric car more practical.


Not sure I see the aircraft relationship... but that doesn't really matter. The design is appealing.

MA Private Pilot, Airframe and Powerplant Mech.

Mark A

Nice design, but fuel cells are the past and batteries are the future.

Jerry Peavy

"the greater powertrain uses a 36 kWh li-ion battery pack"

If that detail is accurate, it is very significant!

36 kWh should be enough for about 180 miles (300 km) range.

That means the hydrogen fuel cell is only needed as a 'range extender' beyond 180 miles (300 km).

If the Intrado consumes 12 kW at 60 mph (100 km/h) the fuel cell could be as small as 6 kW to sustain the battery over a 360 mile (600 km) trip!


Jerry the fuel cells is not in the past, is the future, till now is used in satelites, the future will start in fuel cells after batteries technologies, one possibility is to get hydrogen from natural gas or biogas (methane H4C), by different types of plasma reactors technolohies by cracking H4C in 2H2+C, C as carbon black.

Esteban Sperber Frankel

Just thought I'd take a moment to provide a more holistic view of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) versus battery electric vehicles (BEVs). A few points:

Lithium ion batteries are not toxic and are recyclable. Hydrogen needs to be either stored at very high pressure (e.g. 10,000 PSI!) or liquefied (which requires even more energy), which produces issues and costs that are not easily overcome. The existing infrastructure (i.e. pipes and storage tanks) is not suitable for distributing pure hydrogen fuel, so brand new infrastructure would have to be built. You cannot use the types of pipes and storage tanks used for natural gas, etc., for hydrogen - being the smallest element - it's a whole different kettle of fish. However, the infrastructure already exists for BEVs (the grid). If you use electrolysis to create hydrogen, the amount of energy you would use is about 4 times the amount required compared to simply storing the same energy in a battery. You can source the energy from renewable sources for both BEVs and FCVs, but, as mentioned above, the amount of energy required for creating hydrogen for FCVs is significantly more than for BEVs. Remember, hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. If you use natural gas and strip the hydrogen out, you are still reliant on fossil fuels (unsustainable) and still requires more energy (less efficient). This is where most industrially produced hydrogen currently comes from. Current hydrogen prices are also very expensive - if you think prices at the pump are expensive for your current vehicle, you should check out hydrogen prices! For day to day driving needs, an overnight charge (at home at off-peak rates) means you have a "full tank" at the start of every day with a BEV. This is a far more significant advantage than people realise. The cost of battery cells is continuing to fall and energy density is continuing to increase steadily over time - approx. 7-8% p.a. without miracles, just optimisation, which quickly compounds over time. If there is some significant new change in battery chemistry, that figure might change dramatically (in a good way). DC fast charging technology is already viable for long distance travel and is continuing to improve (see Tesla Superchargers). You can produce your own energy for your BEV (and home for that matter) using solar panels on your roof. Advances in stationary energy storage also mean that you will soon be able to very cost effectively store your renewable power for later use (e.g. at night) as well.

There are many more points, but the more you really look at it, the more BEVs make sense (especially with technology that is available now). I used to think that hydrogen cars were the way forward, but realised it was a false economy the more I looked into it (and a prime example of “greenwashing”).

To paraphrase someone else, "viable mass market fuel cell cars are 5-10 years away.... and always will be...."

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