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Kia Shows Off the Borrego Fuel Cell SUV

Kia Borrego FCEV

In brief: Kia and Hyundai are working together on hydrogen fuel cell technology, with the 2009 prototype being a Borrego SUV.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: Borrego FCEV
Manufacturer: Kia / Huyundai

The word

Borrego FCEV

The latest fuel cell prototype is the Borrego (also known as the Mohave) FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle). The prototype is a front-wheel drive vehicle, versus it's gasoline counterpart with all-wheel drive.

There are some innovations in the new fuel cell being used in the Borrego prototype. The cell stack is located underneath the passenger compartment and puts out 115kW, 5kW more than the 110kW AC motor requires.

The stack, in Kia's biggest innovation, requires no compressor as it operates at ambient pressure. That's a big step forward for HFC stacks. Through this, the stack can use 98% of the hydrogen fed to it, since the H2 doesn't need to be under pressure to work as with other cells.

Another interesting idea is the regenerative braking system. Rather than feed power back into a battery pack, the kinetic power regenerated by braking is instead fed into a supercapacitor for use as "burst" energy for heavy acceleration or starting from a standstill. Of course, the down side is that it must be used soon after it's generated, but in most cases, that's probably how it would get used anyway. Great idea there.

The total range is said to be 425 miles per tank of hydrogen and Kia plans low-volume series production in 2012 and mass production in 2015, matching Toyota's expected date and the likely date for Honda's Clarity.

Kia released video of the Borrego FCEV in action:

And so ...

Photo credits: Kia

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