Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis unveiled a hydrogen-powered concept at the New York Auto Show in April — and it shows the direction other automakers in the space should be taking.
The bone-white concept won’t ever enter production, but it does send an interesting message about the futuristic vehicles. Mainly, that hydrogen fuel cells can work in SUVs, and automakers pursuing the nascent technology may want to seriously consider ditching sedans in favour of larger vehicles.
Toyota and Honda are currently leading in the hydrogen space. Sales are still low, however, as the vehicles are only available in California, which has invested heavily in its hydrogen infrastructure.
But the two automakers’ hydrogen options, the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity, are both small sedans. At a time where SUV demand is continuing to boom, installing the futuristic powertrain in a stunning SUV could be the best way to draw interest as both companies look to introduce hydrogen vehicles in the Northeast.
Scroll down for a closer look at the concept:
Genesis didn't release any specs for its hydrogen concept, the GV80. But the company's Tucson Fuel Cell, which it leases in California, has a driving range of 265 miles.
Inside, the concept features a 22-inch curved display and digital instrument panel. The large touchscreen display recognises handwriting and can be used to control navigation, entertainment, internal climate, and external communication.
The interior comes with diamond stitched leather seating and ash wood consoles. Passengers in the back can use tiny display screens to control their own settings.
As mentioned earlier, Hyundai already leases its Tucson Fuel Cell in California, a compact SUV. But as of April, Hyundai has only delivered 140 vehicles.
Vehicle type certainly isn't the only hurdle preventing hydrogen vehicle adoption. Automakers must also build out an infrastructure to support the vehicles and educate more people about the technology for mass adoption to ever occur.
But Hyundai has the right idea when it comes to introducing nascent technology in larger vehicles.
It's something automakers are trying to replicate with battery-powered cars as well, which have experienced tepid adoption in the US. Mercedes and BMW are just two major automakers looking to introduce a slew of electric SUVs by 2020.
Toyota has said it could see itself making a hydrogen-powered SUV to stay consistent with consumer demand.
The Genesis GV80 may not come to fruition, but it shows luxury SUVs are the best bet for anyone pursuing hydrogen tech.