Californian Timothy Bush is the first person to get the keys to the new Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossover…which comes with free fuel. It will cost him just $499 a month to drive what could be the future of alternative fuel vehicles.
While hydrogen has plenty of detractors, that hasn’t discouraged Hyundai from investing heavily into a fuel cell version of their popular Tucson crossover. Nor did it discourage Timothy, who plunked down a $2,999 down payment in addition to the $499 a month lease. The lease includes free access to unlimited amounts of hydrogen fuel at one of a growing number of fueling stations across California, though the number of stations are still few and far between. With a 265 mile driving range though, it retains the same range as the gas-powered version, and can fill up in ten minutes.
That’s why automakers are pushing fuel cell vehicles; they combine the convenience of gas vehicles with the zero-emissions driving of electric cars. However, some recent studies have pointed out that it takes just as much energy to make hydrogen fuel as it does gasoline, and the lack of infrastructure puts it at a real disadvantage compared to EVs.
But this is just the first wave of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and Hyundai isn’t alone. Production of the Toyota FCV begins this December, and Honda plans on rolling out a production fuel cell vehicle in 2015 as well. It’s a bold move in light of the rising interest in electric vehicles, but you’ve got to admit that free fuel and zero tailpipe emissions is a tempting reason to get on board the hydrogen hype train.