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Hyundai unveils fuel cell SUV with 580km range

South Korean automaker looks to double environmentally friendly models by 2020

Hyundai Motor's state-of-art fuel cell vehicle is to hit the South Korean market early next year.

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor unveiled its new fuel cell automobile Thursday, a sport utility vehicle with a range 39% farther than that of its predecessor.

The South Korean automaker's second-generation fuel cell vehicle features new core components including the hydrogen supply device and fuel cell stack, which generates electricity by causing a hydrogen-oxygen chemical reaction.

The vehicle can travel 580km before needing a hydrogen refueling because the system that obtains propulsion from that chemical reaction operates more efficiently. At 60%, the new model's system efficiency is 5 percentage points better than that of the current model, the Tucson Fuel Cell.

The SUV's motor produces 163 horsepower, moderately higher than the 154-horsepower output of Toyota Motor's Mirai fuel cell car.

Hyundai will release the automobile in South Korea during the first quarter of 2018, followed by Europe, the U.S. and Australia in the second half. Sales in China are being considered, the company said.

The automaker also clarified plans to increase its number of environmentally friendly models, including hybrids, to 31 by 2020, from 14 at present. That effort includes releasing an electric SUV in the first half of next year that can travel up to 390km on a single charge, double the range of its existing offering. In addition, Hyundai said it has begun developing an electric vehicle that will have a 500km range.

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