In the midst of several automakers going for green vehicles in the form of EVs, Kia is instead focusing on fuel cell technology, putting diesel and full-EV technology in the back seat for the moment as part of its push for more sustainable powertrains.
Carscoops reported Kia’s engineering head Albert Biermann confirmed the company is building a hydrogen fuel cell car.
“Are we working on a Tesla fighter like everybody else? At this point I can tell you: no, we are not working on it, but I would not exclude this for all times – when the time comes we can just do it.
“We have our own eco powertrain development centre, and we’re also developing a hydrogen fuel cell car for the Kia side,” he had said at Kia’s R&D centre in South Korea.
Part of the reason the group is working on the project is due to last year’s Dieselgate scandal, which inspired Biermann to ensure a sustainable car for the future.
Hyundai already has the ix35 as part of its line up, so it’s highly likely Kia’s hydrogen car would be using the same system.
AutoExpress speculates the technology could appear on the Sportage, as its bigger size means more room to pack in the fuel cell and batteries the powertrain would need.
The Hyundai ix35 has a range of about 577km and produces emissions of only pure water, hinting at what can be expected from Kia’s hydrogen fuel cell car.
However, there may be challenges in the lack of refuelling stations, which are non-existent here, and even in developed UK there are only about a handful.
Another implication of this project is that there will be no diesel-powered performance cars either from Kia GT or Hyundai N.
“Five years ago I would have said yes to that, but today I would say no,” said Biermann.