It wasn’t that long ago that the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle debuted in Detroit with some fanfare, and the promise of free fuel. It seems that the Korean automaker is hedging its bets when it comes to hydrogen though, debuting the Hyundai Tucson 48V Hybrid Concept and an even more-efficient plug-in hybrid diesel, both riding on an all-new platform.
The Tucson 48V Hybrid Concept pairs a 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine making 134 horsepower with a 14 horsepower electric motor powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack. Total combined output of 148 ponies and 305 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual transmission, and the Hyundai contributes just 109 g/km CO2 to the atmosphere. Though just in hybrid form, Hyundai wants to bring this technology to its larger SUVs as a means to offset emissions at just a quarter of the price of full hybrid system might cost.
But the automaker didn’t stop there, as the Tucson PHEV concept not only offers more power, but a respectable electric driving range as well. A 1.7 liter turbodiesel making 113 horsepower is mated to a 67 horsepower electric motor for combined output of 180 horsepower and a substantial 350 lb-ft of torque. Electric driving range is estimated at 31 miles per charge of the 10.7 kWh lithium-ion battery, and CO2 emissions are estimated to a mere 48 g/km, less than half the 48V Concept. The electric motor can drive the rear axle, while the diesel engine powers the front wheels, offering a hybrid drivetrain not unlike the Kia Soul e-AWD concept that debuted earlier in the month. There’s also rumors of a dedicated EV coming as early as next year.
The new Hyundai Tucson comes with a host of other improvements, such as new engine, connectivity, and safety features. But the big news to me is that Hyundai is debuting an all-new Tucson, sans the hydrogen drivetrain they made such a big deal about less than a year ago. At the Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai showed off its first Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, but it barely mentioned its efforts with hydrogen. This could be another indication that the automaker may be moving away from hydrogen fuel cells or, at the very least, making sure it doen’t ignore a growing plug-in car market.