Despite the inherent challenges with using hydrogen as a fuel source, Hyundai is plowing ahead with a new generation of fuel cell vehicle as a follow up to the Tucson Fuel Cell it currently offers in limited markets.
Difference is, the current hydrogen-powered Tucson shares a lot of sheetmetal with the traditionally fuelled Tucson. The new, as yet unnamed, hydrogen crossover doesnâ€™t look like anything in Hyundaiâ€™s portfolio … at least not yet.
Itâ€™s not unrealistic to suspect the machine shown here may be a harbinger of future Hyundai design philosophy, given the company has said it is â€œnear-productionâ€� ready. The Hyundai FE Concept shown last year at Geneva looks remarkably similar.
At Geneva, the company said the electrified FCV will boast a range of nearly 500 miles, more than double the range of the most long-legged electric cars and about a hundred miles ahead of Hondaâ€™s Clarity Fuel Cell car. However, that 500 mile estimate is likely based on the notoriously optimistic European test cycle, so expect a real-world figure well south of that number. The alarmingly styled Toyota Mirai has an advertised range of 312 miles, for example.
Itâ€™s the latest salvo in Hyundaiâ€™s burgeoning effort to build eco-minded cars, such as the Ioniq line introduced to take on stalwarts like the Toyota Prius. The company also mentions â€œhydrogen-powered applications in the home,â€� alluding to some sort of technology that takes energy generated by the car and uses it to power oneâ€™s kitchen coffee pot. Nissan showed off this type of equipment while unveiling the new Leaf, except its solution used batteries and not hydrogen, of course.
Not to be outdone by other manufacturers that are taking full advantage of the mobility buzzword, the new fuel cell crossover will get a raft of driver assistance tech, all of which Hyundai will fully disclose at CES next week. Dubbed the “Advanced Driver Assistance System,” it could be a preview of tech thatâ€™ll eventually filter down to workaday Hyundais as a rival to the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech.
Hyundaiâ€™s existing entrant in the hydrogen sandbox, the Tucson Fuel Cell, is offered on a 36-month lease at $499 per month with about $3,000 due at signing. Naturally, itâ€™s only available in the few California locales where the hydrogen infrastructure exists to support the running of these machines. Expect this new car, whatever itâ€™s going to be called, to mirror that level of availability.
The press conference for Hyundaiâ€™s new Fuel Cell Vehicle will take place at 3:00 p.m. PST on Monday, January 8. You can find the livestream here.