Kia continues fuel cell electric vehicle development

Article by Christian A., on August 27, 2010

Despite most carmakers' focus on bringing plug-in electric vehicles to the market, Kia continues to have its attention on the fuel cell electric vehicle. Earlier this month, Kia chose five consumers (out of 17,800 applicants) to test the fuel cell electric Mohave for six months in Seoul.

Kia's test drive program includes free hydrogen refills from any of the six charging stations located around Seoul. 

A team of engineers will be constantly monitoring the vehicle and will work to correct any problems that arise with the test vehicles.

Limited production for the Mohave will begin in 2012 while a full-scale production is expected to begin in 2015. 

The Mohave is estimated to be priced at around $50,000. The Mohave's range is about 282 miles but though a higher-pressure (700 bar) hydrogen tank, the range can be increased to 425 miles.

Kia's testing for some vehicles with the 700 bar hydrogen tank is ongoing. The car is also capable of going from zero to 60mph in 12.5 seconds, which is acceptable for the target demographic.

Even with these advances, there are several issues that have to be resolved before the thought of mass-market success could be entertained. There must be an infrastructure to support hydrogen refueling and there are safety concerns plus cost considerations.

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