For Hyundai, the fuel cell market is a global affair. Built in Korea and launching now in Europe, Hyundai's first production hydrogen vehicle is the ix35 Fuel Cell, a CUV that will be known as the Tucson Fuel Cell when it comes to the US. As hydrogen vehicles become more and more a real thing for Hyundai – and other automakers – we thought we'd ask how things look through the company's fuel cell prism. So we asked Miles Johnson, Hyundai's senior manager of midwest product public relations, to run us through the automaker's thoughts on building hydrogen cars for the US.

It's clear Hyundai firmly believes in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), despite two big hurdles: refueling infrastructure and cost. The company's first FCEV is expensive, but Johnson said that Hyundai is working on getting the price down to an "affordable price" as it gets ready for mass production and consumer retail "beyond 2015." FCEVs are getting a bit assist in Korea, where the government offers an incentive that cuts the "upgrade cost" in half. Governments in Europe are also providing financial assistance for FCEVs and refueling stations.

Johnson admits "infrastructure development in the US has been slow, thereby limiting any potential [FCEV] demand." To figure out how many H2 Tucsons to potentially bring to the US, Hyundai is currently "investigating potential demand ... in the US market, particularly in California, where most of the H2 refueling infrastructure development has taken place."

You can read Johnson's full brief below.
Show full PR text

In the US, Hyundai started a fuel cell vehicle demonstration fleet in 2005. However, infrastructure during demonstration fleet testing is important and the fuel cell station infrastructure in the US still needs the government's financial support. Infrastructure development in the US has been slow, thereby limiting any potential demand. Hyundai strongly believes fuel cells will be one of the important future vehicle technologies globally and we are targeting mass production for consumer retail with an affordable price beyond 2015. Currently Hyundai is investigating potential demand for the Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle in the US market, particularly in California, where most of the H2 refueling infrastructure development has taken place.

Recently, the European Community (EC) has made plans for infrastructure and vehicle deployment. Many EC municipalities are funding the H2 refueling stations as well as vehicle development. Many municipalities are providing significant amounts of tax exemptions and incentives. In January, Hyundai became the first automaker to begin assembly-line production of fuel cell vehicles, largely targeted for the EU market.

In Korea, the government has initiated fuel cell incentives amounting to around half of the vehicle upgrade cost. Even though the budget is minimal this year, it will be extended to encompass large-scale volume.

Fuel Cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle that uses hydrogen fuel to generate electricity, rather than using stored electricity from batteries. The generation of electricity from hydrogen requires several major systems including a Fuel Cell Stack, Air Processing Unit, Fuel Processing Unit, Thermal Management System, High Voltage Unit, and other driveline components. Modularization is taking place in all these systems and is allowing for improvements in assembly productivity. Unification of systems allows for a more compact, lighter design, which can also improve overall system efficiency. Modularization also allows for application on different vehicle platforms, from passenger car applications to commercial busses. Hyundai continues to refine and improve its fuel cell system to optimize overall design and modularity.

The Tucson Fuel Cell and the ix35 Fuel Cell rely entirely on hydrogen for propulsion. However, an on-board 24kW lithium polymer battery assists the fuel cell during brisk acceleration, similar to a hybrid vehicle. There are four different driving modes on the Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle. 1) Fuel Cell Mode: Vehicle is powered only by the fuel cell (such as when cruising). 2) Assist Mode: Vehicle is powered by both fuel cell and battery (such as when accelerating). 3) Charge Mode: Fuel cell charges battery when its charge level is low. 4) Regeneration Mode: Battery is charged by electric motor during vehicle braking.

Hyundai recently became the first automaker to begin assembly-line production of fuel cell vehicles. We plan to make about 1,000 units over the next two years. One of the challenges of this program is the relatively high vehicle cost due to its small scale production. High development costs per unit drive the vehicle price up. If Hyundai produced fuel cell vehicles in larger volumes, the price would be significantly reduced. However, H2 infrastructure in various regions still limits potential sales, thus large scale production will be tempered until the infrastructure catches up with technology development. In the mean time, Hyundai is investigating methods to reduce the vehicle cost further by developing break-through technology, such as low Pt or non-Pt catalyst technology, system simplification, and upgraded system efficiencies.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 98 Comments
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax
        Ziv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        Carney has posted a link to an article that I have read and re-read, that raises very good points about the problematic nature of fuel cell development, but it was written in 2007. I believe powering vehicles with hydrogen would be an elegant solution, but that it would be incredibly expensive to develop the system and that the vehicles themselves will still be Tesla expensive in 10 years when traditional full utility BEV's (Tesla et. al.) are getting close to the price of their ICE (probably hybrid) counterparts. But there are new variants of the fuel cell (methane for example) that make this an idea that is worth revisiting. If anyone knows of any article that has been published in the past year or two that looks at the new technology available and the newest prices for fuel cell stacks, I would really like to read the article! I believe that fuel cells will always be more expensive and that they don't benefit from the democratization aspect of BEV energy supplies, but I could be wrong. But right now I have to go and read Dave's article...
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ziv
          "and that they don't benefit from the democratization aspect of BEV energy supplies" Yeah, this is very important IMHO. People that get EVs often soon thereafter buy PV set ups. The PV equipment is less expensive than EVs and pays for itself in a few years. And there is a nice feeling coming from the fact that you harvest your own energy. With a Fuel Cell car . . . you continue to be a serf to the big energy companies. You must drive to their stations every couple hundred miles or so and pay them more to keep driving. Yeah . . . no thanks.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Short Hyundai stock when the announce foolcell production. We need to crash their stock when the inevitable happens and nobody wants these crap foolsell cars.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        They are not going to be crazy enough to throw a massive amount of money at it.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I thought your complaint was that too much money is wasted on fuel cells? Make your mind up.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          My point is that they'll realize they are throwing money into a boondoggle and cut back.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      Joe, I don't need to discredit your opinions, you do an amazing job yourself. When we first started these debates about fuel cells, you had a number of valid issues which you raised. One by one they have been answered, from the cost of the fuel cells to the cost of the hydrogen to the cost of the infrastructure. That has not even dented your opposition. Now you don't bother with any rational arguments at all, just come out with your opinion. To be clear I don't know how it will pan out between fuel cells and batteries, or better than either inductive charging on the move. Neither do you, you just fancy you do. In my view opinions I am interested in are ones which modify as the facts come in, not ones which take no notice of new information, and are based on some crystal ball gazing on the development of technology. You have a prejudice, not a reasoned opinion.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Joeviocoe has a lot of emotion invested in the automakers *not* delivering FCVs to the commercial market. Apparently, he reads these comments as Hyundai already backing down...
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the other green technologies will be FLYING PIGS!
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Joeviocoe - "It looks like Hyundai is not the only ones slowly realizing that they bet on the wrong horse." FTA - " Hyundai strongly believes fuel cells will be one of the important future vehicle technologies globally and we are targeting mass production for consumer retail with an affordable price beyond 2015." Perhaps Joeviocoe was expecting Hyundai to say that creating the infrastructure would be a piece of cake? Hyundai clearly points out that they are still going forward with FCVs. They mention progress in Europe and Korea, which were always planned as early markets. I'm really not sure where Joeviocoe is reading his doom and gloom from.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.hyundaipressoffice.co.uk/release/403/ Hyundai's own words: "Hyundai plans to manufacture 1,000 units of the hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles by 2015, targeted predominantly at public sector and private fleets, with limited mass production of 10,000 units beyond 2015."
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whenever you start to backpedal.. .you first have to plant the seeds. Hyundai (and every other car maker) is wise to never exactly quantify what "limited production" means exactly. So that gives them plenty of room to reduce their plans without changing their statements. YOU have never quantified "SPECIFICALLY" how many FCVs will be produced and sold by Hyundai in 2015. Just "limited quantity". That could be anywhere from the "Limited Lease Only deals" that mean nothing... to Toyota's RAV4EV limited production. There is nothing specific about any of this yet, just speculation. Hyundai is smart to start talking about Infrastructure problems now, in 2013... this way, in 2015... they can say they've been warning for years that FCVs could not launch without Infrastructure being built first.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Deserves a bump to the top... for perspective on why the majority here are not buying into the hype: ---pmpjunkie01 Here is just the very recent history i think Joe is coming from: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/04/16/hyundai-will-make-limited-number-of-fuel-cell-vehicles-this-ye/ specifically: Hyundai would make as many as 1,000 FCEVs this year (2012), and that the car would be priced at $88,550 before incentives and any tax credits. Hyundai is looking to cut that price to $50,000 by 2015 and: Thousands by 2014 and mass production by 2015 that slipped to: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/11/29/hyundai-us-chief-maintains-2015-goal-for-production-fuel-cell-ve/ "will make 1,000 units between now and 2015. The company hasn't given out any price estimates" DaveMart and LTAW have both commented on these in the most optimistic way, ridiculing Joe's skepticism. Now they clearly have egg on their face. But by the way they currently comment they clearly don't care about what they said yesterday. ---JakeY Actually they said this in 2001: "Hyundai-Kia and United Technologies Corporation of the United States have signed an agreement to establish strategic partnership to develop fuel cell vehicles for everyday use by 2005." http://www.hyundainews.com/us/en-us/Media/PressRelease.aspx?mediaid=28933&title=new-agreement-forsees-fuel-cell-vehicles-from-hyundai-kia-by-2005 They said this in 2008: "Hyundai plans to expand a demo fleet of FCEV's to 500 units by 2010, including mid-to-large size SUV's, then establish a small production system to begin mass production from 2012." http://worldwide.hyundai.com/WW/Corporate/News/News/DF_GT_GLOBALNEWS_052.html?testValue=DF_WW_RD_GLOBALNEWS&title=DF_GT_GLOBALNEWS_052&Row=52&totalRow=&selx2= Of course they didn't have 500 FCVs in 2010 and not even today. And then we found out "mass production" of FCVs means compliance car volume for fleets (different standard from the "mass production" of hybrids in the same press release which means cars for sale to general public, not fleets, as they already had 2.4k hybrids for fleet usage by 2008). Have to give them credit for being consistent in the last couple of years though. -------------------
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Fuel of the future . . . and always will be.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        I understand why Joeviocoe has problems trusting Hyundai's PR. I also understand the various reasons (including two major economic meltdowns) that Hyundai was not able to meet their targeted goals. Still, I'm willing to continually acknowledge progress as it continues to happen: progress in reducing the cost of FCV tech, progress in improving hydrogen infrastructure, and progress in a unification of planning among the automakers, the energy suppliers, and the various governments around the globe. Because I'm willing to acknowledge this progress, I'm also willing to see that Hyundai (and other FCV makers) are getting very close to their announced schedule of delivering FCVs to commercial markets - and rather than betting against them, I'm willing to cheer them on.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          progress on paper is often misleading. In fact, it is the PR Dept's to exaggerate progress. It is a game of misdirection, and investors and bloggers alike continually fall for it. Bottom line... what ever is said... until some serious millions/billions get officially allocated to break ground on hundreds of H2 stations... it is only hype. Oh, and their "studies" that claim only 68 stations are needed... is also misdirection! Such a low number works fine for superchargers, where an EV can charge up on Level 2 or Level 1 in thousands of locations. But FCVs are chained to those sites, and with their prices.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "... until some serious millions/billions get officially allocated to break ground on hundreds of H2 stations..." And this is something nobody will know, until the day it happens. You've claimed that the hydrogen infrastructure won't be built, because nobody wants to pay for it... yet you've presented absolutely zero evidence to base that opinion on - aside from the fact that it hasn't actually happened yet. We've also pointed out a very simple explanation as to *why* massive multi-million dollar investments in hydrogen infrastructure haven't happened yet: Show me the building code to build a hydrogen station. It doesn't exist yet, it hasn't been written. The States and the Feds are still working on finalizing building codes and safety requirements, and it's pretty much impossible for an infrastructure builder to get a start when they don't even have a legal framework that describes how a hydrogen station must be built. Once we see codes and regulations standardized, I believe there will be a lot more interest expressed in building the stations on a larger nation-wide scale.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        BTW, your source for the notion that Hyundai had a faster schedule in mind is an ABG article, who never, ever get muddled, especially not when dealing with a Korean speaking country. AFAIK any reasonable person would think that Hyundai are pretty well on schedule, as these things go.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe Do you have any idea how many times EV's have tried to become viable ? In nearly every decade since the second world war, there has always been someone trying to build and market electric vehicles. New technology takes time to fully develop, and even then the right market dynamics must exist to attract enough investment and consumer confidence. Not all new technologies work out. Ethanol looked so promising in the 1970's, but turned out to be a dead end, like most bio-fuels, limited by feedstock suitability. . Hydrogen powered vehicles, may also prove to be too difficult or made obsolete by a dramatic breakthrough in battery technology. But who knows ? FCV's may find a viable place in the the mix of future transport solutions. It's too early to start condemning a technology which is still in the infancy of development.
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        I hope they try to mass produce this time and the unsellable hydrodumb foolsells end up being crushed.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        So your argument is based on schedule slippage. In that case it is odd that you make no mention of the schedule slippage for battery cars, which has been going on since around 1901. More recently many, including myself, were disappointed that progress in batteries seems to be rather slower than we had hoped. In the real world, these things happen. It remains exceptionally daft to discard a whole sheaf of technologies such as fuel cells on such a flimsy basis. Line by line, serious objections have been countered, from the supposedly massive costs of hydrogen stations, to the cost of the hydrogen itself, to the cost of the vehicle and durability of the fuel cells. I don't know what the balance will be between fuel cells and batteries, or is on the move inductive charging will succeed, which would be by far the best solution if it can be done. Neither do you, and your argument is so weak it is almost non-existent.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          I have called out many times when a Battery EV promise was likely to be vapor. And have explained why schedules, promises, claims, and plans... slip away. Because the companies exaggerate the market to suit their desires, and the desires of their shareholders. This happens in ALL industry. I have explained why EVs now, are becoming economically viable... to the point were companies do not need to exaggerate as much.... and can start delivering much of what they say. Tesla, GM, and Nissan are good examples of companies who can actually deliver EVs in this current climate. FCVs are still waiting on an infrastructure and promises and hype CANNOT be delivered on schedule... since Automakers cannot control when or if the infrastructure gets built. The main purpose of their rhetoric is to actually convince enough people that H2 is inevitable, so that they will sign legislation to fulfill that prophecy. ------------------------------------- Your whole counter-argument here is based on a misinterpretation of my position... once again. You feel the only way to win against my position, is to create fictitious straw men arguments
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          'The main purpose of their rhetoric is to actually convince enough people that H2 is inevitable, so that they will sign legislation to fulfill that prophecy.' Talking about strawmen, that is pretty good. Presumably that includes Toyota, for instance, who are developing solid state fuel cells but regard fuel cells as the best way to go for the moment until we see how things work out in the development of both technologies. The infrastructure that you continually complain about is in fact fairly modest, with costs comparable to the roll out of fast charging infrastructure, although of course if it works out then bigger roll outs will happen. I note that you do not address the issue that you simply dismiss a whole realm of technology with a wave of your hand, and chose to answer here where you can make some sort of reply, however specious. Higher in the thread as I noted you were simply presenting misinformation on the source of hydrogen for vehicles as fact, which means at minimum that you remain in considerable ignorance of the technologies you criticise. I have however no doubt that discovering your mistake will lead to no change at all in your position, just as information about the much more modest cost of fuel cell stations than we had imagined led to know change, or any of the other favourable information as it came to light. Since the facts do no change your position, I can only conclude that far from your position being rational, your are actually merely rationalising a prejudice, to give a false sheen of logic to an emotional commitment. I reckon that you have fallen for the idea of using solar to power a car at home, and you aren't going to let any fiddling facts get in the way and present any alternatives as possible. Its a nice idea, and in some climates may work, but it is not the only way of powering transport, and indeed is not even possible at high latitudes in the winter.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWWfWMMNlFs Kevin Lee, Fuel Cell Engineer at Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, explains the components on Hyundai's Tucson fuel cell power system module.
      Rowena
      • 1 Year Ago
      ONLINE JOBS INFO -- like Matthew answered I am shocked that someone able to make $7924 in one month on the computer. did you see this web link ---------> www.Jam40.cℴm
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe you should "chill" with the accusations. It is your lack of logical arguments that enable you to make silly comments trying to discredit my opinion by associating me with Dan. You have even accused my use of CAPS in some words to indicate I am too emotional. But I don't go after you about your "exclamation points". It is not germane to the arguments. Focus Dave.
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