Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Sparks Discussion about Future
A couple of years ago, you might have scoffed at the idea of seeing cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells on the road, the same way a decade ago you might have thought that electric vehicles never had a chance as mainstream alternatives to gasoline. But back in June, Hyundai was the very first automaker to offer a fuel cell vehicle for lease in the US. The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is now available to drivers in the Los Angeles/Orange County, California area for $2,999 down and $499 per month. And while other automakers aren’t too far behind, Hyundai has quite the head start.
The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is just the beginning. In order to be practical for drivers outside of the Los Angeles region, additional hydrogen refueling infrastructure is needed. It was this need that prompted Hyundai to meet with the House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus and the Department of Energy earlier this month. During the briefing, the three discussed not only the need for additional hydrogen infrastructure, but also the technology in general.
Kathleen Hennessey, vice president of government affairs for Hyundai Motor Company, commented, “Hyundai is thrilled to partner with leaders in Congress and the Department of Energy to promote the continued development and commercialization of these clean energy technologies. We look forward to continuing to work together with groups like H2USA, the public-private partnership launched by the Energy Department, to find ways to advance hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options – like fuel cell vehicles – for our consumers here in the United States.”
As of now, Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell drivers are hard pushed to make it out of the greater LA area due to a lack of refueling infrastructure.
Apart from being a zero-emissions vehicle (hydrogen fuel cell vehicles omit only water vapor from their tailpipes), the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell offers another benefit. Although the $499 per month lease price might seem fairly high, the vehicle is offered with unlimited free hydrogen refueling (assuming you can find a station). Hydrogen fuel can be pretty expensive, so offering this additional benefit makes the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell more accessible to everyday drivers.
While we can’t say whether or not hydrogen fuel will be a realistic option for future drivers, we’re enjoying watching the innovations being released from not just Hyundai, but Toyota and other automakers working on developing this technology.