Although it’s presently available in both V-6 and V-8 forms, a different type of powertrain will be installed in the 2009 Kia Borrego FCEV: a hydrogen fuel cell.
Unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show, the Borrego FCEV demonstrates the fifth iteration of Hyundai/Kia‘s fuel cell system, which has greater power and range than previous systems. Though it’s rated at 154 hp, the hydrogen fuel cell stack is forty-four percent more powerful than its predecessor, and its 426-mile range is impressive as well.
That monstrous range is thanks in part to the inclusion of a 450-volt supercapacitor, which replaces the typical lithium-ion battery pack. Kia chose the supercapacitor in favor of a battery as it performs better in colder climates, allowing the Borrego FCEV to reportedly start in sub-zero (Farenheight) temperatures.
Kia’s initial performance figures seem fairly impressive for a vehicle this size. The Borrego FCEV has a 0-60 mph time of 12.8 seconds (twice as long as a V-8 model) and can reach a top-end of 100 mph. That’s quite good for a vehicle that weighs 4960 pounds – portly, yes, but Kia managed to keep weight down by using aluminum body panels.
While the combustion-engine variants of the Borrego are currently available at your nearest Kia retailer, don’t look for the FCEV to join them anytime soon. Kia plans on producing a limited number of the fuel cell SUVs, but a vast majority of them will be relegated to commercial fleets for real-world testing.