Hyundai, a Korean auto maker, is not the only car company to be adding hydrogen powered vehicles to its consumer retail fleet. Toyota, Honda, and GM are all planning their hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) to launch in 2015. However, Hyundai will be the first to test the market, with 1,000 units actually going on sale next year.
The price tag of the hydrogen Tucson ix will be $88,550. Undoubtedly a steep price, and with the leaps and bounds in electronic vehicle (EV) technology causing lower prices for EVs, hydrogen may have missed the market. Also, if you don’t live near one of the handful of pilot hydrogen filling stations, you are SOL my friend.
Yet for all the naysayers of hydrogen — the fuel cells are expensive and hydrogen fill up stations are not very common– the fact remains that large amounts of major car manufactures are pursuing the technology. Hyundai has not given details about where the first 1,000 hydrogen FCEVs will ship, but it is most likely that the majority will be sent to Europe.
Unlike in the U.S., hydrogen is a major emerging player in Europe, with FCEVs going beyond cars to include buses and other heavy vehicles. There are a few pilot programs in the U.S., mostly in California and New York, but hydrogen has a much more devout following in Europe.
Hyundai has definitely come a long way from the scrappy car maker they were just a decade ago. But can they become a major player in the hydrogen fuel economy? That remains to be seen. If any of the Hyundai FCEVs do come to America, they are likely to release in limited numbers in the Los Angeles area where many HFCV prototype,s including the Honda FCX Clarity, have been tested.
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Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison