Fuel cell Hyundai clocks up 760,000ks in California but looks like a no-show in Australia
A year ago today, 70 Southern California residents took delivery of the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, known in Australia and Europe as the ix35 Fuel Cell, and have since clocked up what the company says is more than 760,000ks on local street and freeways emitting only environmentally-friendly clean water vapour. The Tucson/ix35 Fuel Cell has a refueling speed similar to that of a petrol-engine vehicle and an estimated 426km driving range that compares favorably with similar petrol vehicles.
Hyundai reckon that this increasing number of real-world fuel cell drivers and their cumulative impact on emissions reduction marks a major milestone in the continuing adoption of fuel cell technology. In recognition of the important role these consumers are taking in reducing dependence on fossil fuels, Hyundai is helping to share their story in a variety of ways, including a video (see below) showing the Tucson Fuel Cell in everyday use.
“Over the past year, Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell owners have shown the world that this technology represents the next generation of zero-emissions transportation,” said the US company’s Mike O’Brien. “Building momentum for fuel cell vehicles and their real-world applications, these customers are sharing their experiences of how the Tucson fits seamlessly into their daily lives.”
The Tucson/ix35 Fuel Cell alleviates most of the range and usability limitations of traditional battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The advanced mid-size SUV maintains the day-to-day flexibility of a petrol-powered Tucson/ix35 while reducing concerns about range or recharging time that might be experienced by owners of battery-electric vehicles. Hydrogen refueling stations are on the rise in California, making refueling even more convenient for fuel cell drivers. According to both government and industry experts, the number of hydrogen refueling stations is expected to reach about 20 by the end of 2015 and about 50 in 2017.
The Tucson/ix35 Fuel Cell is an advanced electric vehicle that creates its own electricity, onboard, from hydrogen. According to the University of California, Irvine Advanced Power and Energy Program’s study, the hydrogen fuel cell provides comparable total ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions to a battery-electric vehicle. For the Tucson Fuel Cell driver, this social benefit is achieved with greater usability, versatility and without compromises.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia has imported one ix35 Fuel Cell for testing and has also built the country’s only hydrogen refueling station at its Macquarie Park headquarters, in NSW. Currently there are no plans for the construction of a hydrogen-refueling infrastructure in Australia, but Hyundai hopes that governments across the country will see the benefits of this technology for the future. However, until it gets out there and backs itself by building a couple of refueling stations in the capital cities it’s difficult to take the company’s commitment very seriously.