Hyundai Tucson Fuel-Cell vehicle enters productionEnlarge Photo
2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
While Toyota prepares to roll out its 2015 car and Honda refines its design, Hyundai has "elbowed past them" (in the words of trade journal Automotive News) with a hydrogen vehicle that it will lease starting early next year.
For $499 per month and a $3,000 down payment, drivers in Southern California can lease the 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell for three years with unlimited mileage--and Hyundai will provide all fuel, maintenance, and roadside assistance free under its Hyundai Assurance program.
In a presentation, Hyundai contrasted a battery-electric vehicle (which it said had a range of 90 miles or less, and a recharge time of 3 hours or more using 240-Volt charging) to a fuel-cell vehicle with a range up to 300 miles and a refueling time of less than 10 minutes.
The company has put more than 2 million miles on its internally-developed hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles since testing began in 2000, it said, with 140,000 miles on its latest generation of fuel-cell stack.
Next October, Hyundai Motor America's Chino, California, technical center will open a hydrogen fueling station, using renewable energy to create the hydrogen, that will be open to the public. Over several years, the state of California hopes to open as many as 100 hydrogen stations.
Compared to its gasoline 2014 Hyundai Tucson counterpart, the converted 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell has less power (134 hp vs 182 hp) but more torque (221 lb-ft vs 177 lb-ft). Rear-seat legroom and load-bay cargo volume are slightly reduced as well.
It's a "sporty and quiet drive experience," said Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik, who said the company has seen "strong response" since the lease offer was announced last week.
The EPA hasn't yet rated the Tucson Fuel Cell for range, but Hyundai expects the final rating to come in between 250 and 300 miles using a tank that holds 5.64 kg of hydrogen.
For all the news on the concepts, production cars, and other events at the show, check our Tokyo Motor Show index page.
And while you're at it, check out our stories from the Los Angeles Auto Show as well--it's happening the same week as Tokyo, and we've got reporters there too.