Things are running a little bit behind on Hyundai's hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell CUV program in the US. The last time we checked in with the South Korean automaker's H2 project, we heard that the first deliveries were supposed to happen by the end of March. Speaking with Hyundai's Kevin Lee at the Hyundai booth at the SAE World Congress this week, we learned that deliveries are now going to happen closer to a month from now.

Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen CUVs running in customer hands today.

Lee told AutoblogGreen that the first US-bound units will be shipped from South Korea at the end of April or beginning of May but there is no actual date set for the first customer delivery. He said he expects 100 or fewer H2 powered Tucson CUVs to be operating in the US by the end of this year, all of them in Southern California. He said the customers in this first batch are being selected based on the location of the nearest hydrogen fuel station. While the number of stations is small today, more are on the way. Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen-powered CUVs (also known as the ix35) running in customer hands today, in places like South Korea, Germany, Norway, Austria and Italy.

Some H2 stations charge Hyundai a flat rate per fill while others charge the automaker a general station maintenance fee.

In the US, the Tucson Fuel Cell CUV leases for $499 a month (with $2,999 down) for 36 months, and comes with unlimited hydrogen refueling as well as Hyundai's Valet Maintenance. Lee told us that one reason for the "free" hydrogen is that even the small number of public hydrogen stations out there (nine in SoCal) does not have a cohesive set of rules for how to sell H2 to the public. The stations are not yet certified to charge customers based on dollar per kilogram in California, Lee said, since that regulation has not yet been set by the Division of Measurement Standards (DMS). Currently, "each station is different," he said, with some charging Hyundai a flat rate per fill and others charging the automaker a general station maintenance fee. This situation will likely change by the end of the year, he said.

Lee said Hyundai is already busy working on the next-gen fuel cell vehicles and trying to reduce costs but was not able to share any details. The one thing he did say was that things are "going well" and that it was "currently under discussion at a very high level" whether or not these fuel cell vehicles will be subject to shorter development time than standard vehicles. In other words, if you don't like the Tucson Fuel Cell SUV today, a newer and better version might be here sooner than expected.


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  • 41 Comments
      Electron
      • 4 Months Ago
      That's right, the cars will be largely invisible for the public but the PR target is the policy makers. If only they could be persuaded to pony up the billions needed to build the $2 million a pop hydrogen station infrastructure this white elephant might yet be turned into a very profitable cash cow for the car and energy sector in some distant future. So far the ploy seems to be working. While the car industry delivers token amounts of vehicles CARB has been turned and the Californian taxpayer is paying for the infrastructure.
      Jim1961
      • 4 Months Ago
      Fuel cell vehicle development makes it easy to discern which auto manufacturers are in bed with fossil fuel companies: Hyundai, Toyota and Honda.
      CoolWaters
      • 4 Months Ago
      Another right wing economic idea that will be DEAD in 5 years as solar, batteries and EV's become cheaper. Only a FOOL CEO would invest company money into a Clearly Dead project at this point in time. Either CEO stupidity or a Bribery play by the Big Oil Producers. Because no fool would tie themselves into this when they could power their car much more cheaply from Rooftop Solar.
      Joeviocoe
      • 4 Months Ago
      http://www.thefreelibrary.com/City+of+LA+Takes+Delivery+of+First+Fuel+Cell+Car%3B+Honda+FCX+Only+Fuel...-a094785870 Over a decade ago... Honda did the very same thing. $500 leases We shall see if anybody but local city and municipal fleet operators buy any FCVs this time. 100 is not a high bar at all.
      CaptTesla
      • 1 Year Ago
      And more energy is wasted to produce the hydrogen than even gasoline. Big oil is loving this. Next they'll be able to setup hydrogen stations charging you the same as a gas fillup.
        Electron
        • 4 Months Ago
        @CaptTesla
        Hydrogen production and distribution is bound to be a costly affair but in this promotional "free hydrogen" phase the eventual cost of hydrogen to the consumer remains obfuscated. One thing is very sure: it won't be very competitively priced compared to home charging (or "free for life" Superchargers for that matter). I doubt it would be competitively priced compared to current gasoline prices but that's a moot issue since mass adoption of hydrogen is a long term post-oil thing at best.
      • 4 Months Ago
      I think fuel cell cars are a great idea especially hydrogen fueled ones. There are companies coming up with ways to use photovoltaic cells (solar cells/panels) to electrolyze water to produce hydrogen. A company called Hypersolar is one at the groundbreaking stage. If hypersolar markets their H2 generator as they call it you could essentially use it to produce hydrogen at your house and use it to power a fuel cell that would power your home and your fuel cell car. The electrochemical processes used to produce the hydrogen using the H2 generator and the water byproduct from the fuel cells are just reversed chemical processes water starts the process and water is produced at the end nothing is lost a completely circular cycle if solar energy is available and you can always store excess hydrogen once its is produced using solar or wind power for that matter somthing wind farms and solar farms cant do on their own unless stored in multiple batteries. So infrastructure?? Im going to use solar and wind power at my house to produce storeable hydrogen from water electrolysis and use it to power my fuel cell car and home and be totally energy independent.
        Spec
        • 4 Months Ago
        And you know what . . . you can use Solar cells to directly charge your electric car . . . right now. I've been doing every day for months now. I'm not sure why you'd like to lose energy by doing another transformation into hydrogen and then storing high-pressure hydrogen in your house. Sounds inefficient and unsafe.
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Why not? your neighbor can have gasoline which is dangerous under the same conditions as hydrogen? Obviously there are going to have to be safety precautions taken gas regulators, release valves etc. Also yes you can use solar power to directly charge your battery now but as you said you can store the excess hydrogen in tanks where as with direct solar energy you do not except by maybe charging multiple batteries so you are actually capturing the excess energy you produce that would be the benefit of storing the hydrogen and you don't have to store it in your house ;)
          fairfireman21
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Mag, Gasoline is not nearly as dangerous as Hydrogen. Gasoline is only flameable in the vapor form Hydrogen is flamable all the time. Gas will go poof when lit but hydrogen will go boom.
        Joeviocoe
        • 4 Months Ago
        Won't be legal for a long time. And won't be cost effective for even longer. You cannot just store hydrogen in an uncompressed state. It needs serious compression, which adds significant risk to the already risky proposition. Biodiesel production at home was a big fad decades ago... it never took off. Safety concerns and expense were just not worth it. Sure, a few people still do it... but those are hobbyists... not mass market. And home H2 will likely be a lot worse. Yes, electrolysis is basically the reverse process from Fuel Cells. Which is why it is also extremely expensive to buy equipment that would produce enough H2 daily. Plus storage and compression, and the price is even worse. Home CNG is WAY more practical, and has been for several decades. Yet hardly anybody does that either. Honda has been talking about this for almost 15 years now. It is not going to happen. Any public passenger FCVs on the road will be fueled up using the traditional Shell/BP model and those drivers will have to use H2 sourced from whatever those companies have decided. So, basically, Natural Gas.
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I can purchase compressed hydrogen now I use it for my cutting torches. I am not sure what the maximum volume you can store is currently but that would surely have to be dealt with the same as anything else gasoline and natural gas for example. Companies like hypersolar are developing less expensive methods to produce hydrogen than we do currently and if the H2 generator was also safe to use at home it would be make more marketable to the masses. It would also be more practical than natural gas because you can produce hydrogen far easier than natural gas. (just add water and 1.5 volts of electricity :) ) I understand your reservations but I disagree. Hydrogen and fuel cells are going to be mass marketable very soon especially for stationary power generation in power plants, large businesses, apartment complexes ect but eventually for vehicles as well. I do agree that there may be a majority of people that will not take advantage of home produced H2 though but not because it will not be available it will be because they will go with what is easiest.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Welders are one thing.... but home hydrogen does not scale to mass market people.
          fairfireman21
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Mag, I am a welder, and metal fabricater and I have never heard of someone using Hydrogen to use in cutting torches. Accetaline is cheap and requires on 5 psi to do the job I go thru more oxyegen than acc. when using mine and Hydrogen would use and cost more per tank.
          Joeviocoe
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yeah.... what would be the max PSI for those tall tanks used in welding? FCVs require 10,000 PSI. Not impossible to make safe, but that safety must come at great expense in the latest carbon fiber tanks and compression systems.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Seriously . . . I don't think I'd want my neighbor to have a home-based electrolysis and H2 storage system.
      Agustin
      • 1 Year Ago
      the future is there, and I'm like it.
      Joeviocoe
      • 4 Months Ago
      10 years ago.. this coming Sunday (April 13, 2004) Is when Honda first leased The FCX. http://corporate.honda.com/environment/fuel_cells.aspx?id=fcx-concept Hyundai is not doing anything different, other than using gliders from production ICEVs.... just to call this a "production FCV". It is not really production, as they cannot produce a significantly larger number than what Honda did 10 years ago.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 4 Months Ago
      " The stations are not yet certified to charge customers based on dollar per kilogram in California, Lee said, since that regulation has not yet been set by the Division of Measurement Standards (DMS). " I've been saying this for quite some time. Codes and standards still need to be developed, written, and put into effect.
        JakeY
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        There's a subtle but important difference: you've been saying they can't sell hydrogen to consumers at any price. However, it's clear they can! They just can't sell "based on dollar per kilogram", but nothing stops them from selling at a per fill-up basis, as they have been doing with Hyundai. Thus it's not a real barrier at all (as there are charging stations that do charge flat rates, for example the $5 flat rate for DC charging with Blink stations). That's the main contention a few of us have had with you thus far.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 4 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          When did I ever say that hydrogen couldn't be sold at any price? My comments have always addressed the sale of hydrogen as a fuel, dispensed to the general public. Likewise, I've explained that the programs offered by current FCV makers are operated under special permission from the government, bypassing the need for a specific sales standard. Moreover, current hydrogen refueling isn't paid for by the individual driver, and most certainly is not available to the general public - only participants in the FCV programs can use the pumps, and they are given special access codes. I reiterate my point - currently it is not legal to sell hydrogen to the general public, because there is no certification process for the pumps or the stations. Which is why Hyundai is paying for the hydrogen, not the FCV driver. The good news is, the standards are being created. " In the proposed Investment Plan for 2013-2014, the Energy Commission will continue to support hydrogen infrastructure projects which expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations to serve the current population of FCVs and to accommodate the planned early commercial large-scale roll-out of FCVs commencing in approximately 2015/2016. Additionally, the Energy Commission has provided $4 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s DMS to develop standards for the quality of hydrogen fuel, in addition to the metering, dispensing, and sale of hydrogen." http://www.energy.ca.gov/drive/technology/hydrogen_fuelcell.html "California Senate Bill 76 requires the Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards to establish standards for dispensing and selling hydrogen fuel in the retail market. The Division of Measurement Standards, California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Renewable and Energy Laboratory, and several other public and private entities are collaborating to establish the standards ensuring the sale of hydrogen as a transportation fuel in California before 2015." http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/hydrogen/h2resource/sale.htm Currently, no hydrogen fuel dispenser has been tested or approved for commercial use. Once that happens, then commercial refueling stations will be easier to open.
        Joeviocoe
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        It has been historically proven with other 'fuels' that "regulation has not yet been set" is NOT a true barrier. Biodiesel also cannot be sold to the public.. so producers got creative. Biodiesel consumers must sign up in advance and fill out forms to put their car as part of a "fleet". EV chargers also cannot sell by the kwh in many places... but providers got creative there too. And it is happening. I see the whole, "regulation has not yet been set" as a major excuse for H2 providers to stall, while trying to secure more government money to not only create the regulations, but to build the infrastructure itself.
      Andy Smith
      • 4 Months Ago
      I thought there was a lot of bluster a year or so ago, heralding this as a production ready car? Most commentators here have said it'll still be a few more years until we get a true production ready car, not a limited compliance car
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      An awfully slow start, but good luck to them. With such a limited production run then pricing is meaningless from a large company. Hyundai will just charge a token price for what is really customer testing. I will be curious to read the customer reviews.
      goodoldgorr
      • 4 Months Ago
      I said it many time that in 2025 I will buy a small gasoline car. this speed of execution, this little quantity and this early mess with the hydrogen infrastructure should prohibit that when time due in Canada then my car will be worn out before a hydrogen rollout happen in Canada. Anyway im calling a big broad consumer strike against hyunday and all auto manufacturers , do not buy anything new anymore till they start to sell hydrogen cars in quantity with a decent hydrogen infrastructure, say it to your friends, say it to everyone, paint it on your car, put signs on your house, go ask for hydrogen cars in car dealerships also big tractor-trailer dearlerships, motorhome dealerships, etc. The future is hydrogen or global warming or pollution by battery carbide. We need hydrogen to make synthetic fuels that capture co2 before re-releasing it so that at least it's carbon neutral for normal old gasoline cars. Do not buy new gasoline cars anymore, do the strike im calling for, you won't regret. This summer don't use your car except for working, learn to play golf or tennis instead of doing motorcycle or road tourism. Pack your golf set on your bike and go golfing, if it's raining stay home and do internet or online dating or gaming.
        Spec
        • 4 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I'm endlessly amazed by gorr's ability to plan his car purchases 11 years in advance.
        Joeviocoe
        • 4 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        :) This rant is so worth reading all the way to the end. Online dating will bring the Hydrogen cars!
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