Hyundai Readying Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Crossover For 2014 U.S. Launch
There has been a lot of talk recently about a fuel cell electric crossover from Hyundai, and we will finally get to see it in the US next year.
Hyundai is just one of a number of automakers realizing the economic viability of this type of vehicle.
Kwon Moon-sik, Hyundai Motor Group’s president of researc & development, was on hand to talk about the car at a recent media event. He feels that the cost of hydrogen compared to batteries is what is pushing automakers in this direction.
Kwon spoke about the lithium ion batteries currently being used, putting the focus on their high cost and how that is not likely to drop anytime soon.
Hydrogen fuel cells have given automakers hope that a cheaper option exists.
The comments from Kwon come at a time when the auto industry as a whole is turning it’s attention to the clean alternative that is hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Fuel Cell Vehicle Partnerships, New Vehicles
In the period between 2015 and 2020 it is believed that the likes of Honda, Toyota, GM, Daimler, Ford, and Nissan, as well as Hyundai will have hydrogen vehicles on the road, with many of the automakers also stating the potential cost savings.
Earlier this year, GM and Honda combined forced to create a common fuel cell system in time for 2020.
The move helped them consolidate their component supply and reduce costs in the development of powertrains, which is always a costly venture.
Toyota showed just how much the technology has come down in price, revealing that production of the 2015 model will be about $50,000.
That’s a massive drop from the $1 million per unit just a few short years ago. Toyota believes that the production costs will cut in half by the time 2020 rolls around.
The aforementioned partnership was not the only one taking place in the industry. Nissan, Daimler, and Ford formed a joint venture with plans to have a fuel cell vehicle in place by 2017.
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Production
Hyundai is adopting the lone wolf role and setting their sights small.
Production of a fuel cell version of the Tucson will begin at the Ulsan, South Korea plant next year.
The plan is to make a limited run of 1,000 units for sale globally starting in 2015.
The Lack Of Fueling Stations
According to Autonews, California is on the cutting edge in this regard, as they hope to have 68 new stations in place by 2015 so that their strict zero-emissions regulations can b adhered to.
At this time there are only 9 stations open to the public, with 19 more in the development stage.
Another 12 private or demonstration stations are up and running, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
The federal government is also taking an active role. After initially shunning the technology in 2008 in favor of battery EV technology, the US Department of Energy has now launched H2USA, which is a public-private partnership with Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Toyota to promote the introduction of refueling infrastructure.
Kwon argues that the sale of battery EV’s is too reliant upon government subsidies to the consumer.
He does believe, though, that the government needs to be involved in setting up the infrastructure required to make fuel cell vehicles viable. He feels that the investment required is too large for private companies to shoulder alone.