Tucson ix Hydrogen FCEV to Begin Testing

Hyundai has finished its development of the next generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. The model should begin testing next year, in preparation for a 2015 mass production model. The FCEV, which has reached its third generation, comes with a 100 kilowatt fuel cell system and two 700 bar hydrogen storage tanks.

According to the manufacturer, the Hydrogen Tucson can travel 650 kilometers (400 miles) and can start at temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius. This puts the SUV almost at the top in range of fuel cell vehicles (the Toyota FCHV-adv gets over 690 kilometers, or 431 miles, in some tests). It is also 76 percent more frugal than the second-generation Tucson FCEV, which was limited to 370 kilometers (230 miles) on one charge.

More than 95 percent of the Tucson ix FCEV’s components were manufactured in Korea, through close collaboration with about 120 domestic auto parts manufacturers. Overall volume of the fuel cell system was reduced by 20-percent compared to the previous system via modularization of bulky parts in the fuel cell system including fuel cell stack, balance of plant (BOP), inverter and high voltage junction box.

Hyundai plans to make a limited supply of the Tucson ix FCEV in 2012 and begin mass production in 2015. The new model gets gasoline equivalent fuel efficiency of 31 kilometers per liter (about 73 mpg), a 15-percent improvement over the previous version. Top speed is rated at 160 km/h (99 mph).

Fuel cells are one of the most fuel efficient ways to build an green car, but are also one of the most difficult to turn into reality. One major concern is the lack of infrastructure, with a lack of hydrogen filling stations sure to affect such models in the future.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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