Chicago Auto Show Blog

Hyundai Delivers First Fuel-Cell Vehicle

Posted by: Mark Bilek

This past week, Hyundai delivered the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle to a customer in the United States. Long thought to be the Holy Grail of green-thinking automotive pundits, a fuel-cell vehicle creates its own electricity on board and on demand. They Hyundai fuel-cell vehicle is based on the Tucson CUV and uses hydrogen to create electricity to power the wheels and its only emission is water vapor.


"Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles represent the next generation of zero-emission vehicle technology, and we're thrilled to be a leader in offering the mass-produced Tucson Fuel Cell to our first retail customer," said Dave Zuchowski, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. "The range and refueling speed of our new Tucson Fuel Cell compares favorably with gasoline vehicles, making them a seamless transition for our customers from traditional gasoline vehicles."

The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell will initially be offered to customers in the Los Angeles/Orange County region for a 36-month term at $499 per month, with $2,999 down. This includes unlimited free hydrogen refueling. Unfortunately, there is no ETA for deliveries to vehicles in the Chicago area. (There currently are no publically available hydrogen filling stations in Illinois.)

Hyundai-Fuel-Cell-Fuel-Stack-300According to Hyundai, its Tucson Fuel Cell alleviates the limitations of traditional battery electric vehicles. The Tucson Fuel Cell maintains the day-to-day flexibility of the gasoline-powered Tucson, so that its driver is able to immediately enjoy the next generation of electric vehicles without range or recharge-time compromises to their lifestyle.

In the Tucson, the fuel cell effectively replaces a battery pack by generating electricity from hydrogen through an electrochemical process that does not involve hydrogen combustion. Hydrogen and air enter fuel cell and a catalyst splits the hydrogen electrons and protons. An electrolyte conducts the positively-charged ions generating electricity. The only byproducts are water and heat energy.

The Tucson Fuel Cell began mass production for the U.S. market in April 2014 at the Ulsan, Korea assembly plant that also manufactures the gasoline-powered Tucson.


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