Hyundai to begin testing of its Tucson ix FCEV with mass production planned for 2015


December 22, 2010

Hyundai's Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Hyundai's Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

While plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt are currently making a play for eco-conscious consumers’ attention, some automobile manufacturers believe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the way of the future as they can be filled-up in minutes as opposed to the hours it takes to recharge EVs. One of the companies set on bringing Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to showrooms is Hyundai, which has just completed development of its Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). Hyundai will begin testing the vehicle next year, with the goal of starting mass production in 2015.

The Tucson ix FCEV is Hyundai’s third-generation FCEV following on from the original 2005 Tucson FCEV that was a test vehicle for the company’s second-generation hydrogen fuel cell. The latest vehicle is equipped with a 100-kW fuel cell system and two hydrogen storage tanks (700 bar or 10152.64 psi) that allow the SUV to travel 404 miles (650 km) on a single charge. This is a 76 percent improvement over the second-generation Tucson FCEV, which was limited to a range of 230 miles (370 km) on a single charge. It can also start in temperatures as low as minus 13°F (-25°C).

The new model retains the same maximum speed as its predecessor of 100 mph (160 km/h) but boasts a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous model with a gasoline equivalent fuel efficiency of 72.9 MPG (31 km/liter). The efficiency of the vehicle has been possible in part due to the reduction in the overall volume of the fuel cell system by 20 percent compared to the previous system. This was achieved via the modularization of bulky components in the fuel cell system, including the fuel cell stack, balance of plant (BOP), inverter and voltage junction box.

Hyundai plans to make a limited supply of the Tucson ix FCEV in 2012 and begin mass production in 2015.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Before hyundai begins to make hydrogen vehicles they really need to think about the availability of hydrogen gas stations. I heard that there was only one experimental hydrogen station in south korea and I don\'t think that the current Korean government would give any support for an obvious NIMBY project. Besides, where are they going to get the hydrogen from?

bio-power jeff

At last a sensible approach to real environmental vehicles. The only drawback will be the governments . They will be slow to put in the Hydrogen dispensing stations because of the tax they get from oil. UK being by far the worst at 76% total tax take on every litre!!! The fun thing is that it is quite conceivable to produce hydrogen at home. Therefore negating the need for oil companies to get you around apart from tyres , plastic and some grease. All you need is a Hydrolysis process splitting water with electricity from your household mains giving Hydrogen and Oxygen as a by product and then compressing the Hydrogen. This will be the difficult bit because of the level of compression that will be very high. The more you can compress it the longer the car will travel with the right storage tank. It could be quite dangerous with the level of compression needed at home but it can be overcome . So bring it on. The sooner the better. Trouble is that the government will find a way of taxing it out of existence like Petrol and Diesel. But at least all you will be producing is water as an exhaust product from the fuel cell. If you use Wind Power to get the electricity then your use of the car will be almost environmentally benign.


With a range of more than double what most EVs can boast, I don\'t know that my main concern is \"where does the hydrogen come from\". Fleet vehicles will easily be able to supply their own hydrogen, and it is likely that some limited hydrogen infrasructure will pop up as soon as there is demand, seeing as commercial hydrogen generation is fairly well established in developed countries.

Charles Bosse

Hyundai (GM, KIA...) are barking up the wrong tree with Hydrogen. There is nothing more efficient than going ELECTRIC, ie. Power Plant to Battery. (follow Better Even the process of making Gasoline is highly energy intensive. So, if your going to invest in a New Energy Infrastructure, why not build on what we already have. To go Hydrogen, it takes more energy to split H2O than you get out of burning the Hydrogen or using it in a Fuel Cell. It\'s not an efficient process... Currently, we are burning fossil fuel to create electricity but getting that electricity into an EV is much more efficient than processing and delivering Gasoline, let alone Hydrogen. Shai Agassi\'s Better Place is already marrying up EV manufacturers with Battery makers and Power distribution facilities to provide Electrons directly to the EV. He also came up with the Killer idea of Swapping Batteries, WHEN NEEDED, at Battery Swap Stations. (an already proven concept). So, rather than build a Hydrogen or Methanol infrastructure, or continue with foreign crude oil, with their multiple processing steps... Build up the existing Electric infrastructure, with it\'s direct path to the EV.


all the information coming through it seems electric carss seems an easy way to go but we must look at the charging of those batteries be it coal atomic wind solar what are the practicallities of each unit of charging depending upon country districts denisty of living space then we have hyrodrogen which can be used directly to power vechile or indirectly through the recharging of battery example honda insight hybrid just different fuel applied to generator or we could have toyota prius design which would be my choice of design i have read this morning about scienctist exploring new concept in hyrdrogen fuel at a much lower cost base promising very pomising

George Kat

Coupla questions : 1) What will it cost per mile? 2) What will it cost to purchase? 3) Where will the customer get this hydrogen? 4) What happens in a severe accident? Will my insurance cover the consequences of a catastrophic failure of the fuel container(s)?

All very sexy and trendy but until these questions are answered in the positive...

I think plug in hybrids may be more practical as the electrical is in place albiet probably needs to be enhanced to cover the increased sporatic demand.

Even if the above questions can be covered, the buying public are indeed a fickle bunch. I would expect \"reduced carbon economy\" to be priced for the near and well to do which is unfortunate due to the economic forcasts outside the BRIC countries being less than booming.


Hyundai might consider canceling the production of this vehicle if the plug in EV\'s show great success because by 2015, charging station systems should be fairly well established. It would make more sense to improve on something that works rather than bank on technology in its infancy.

Better hydrogen generation and storage methods need to be developed. It is not easy or necessarily safe to store any gas, much less hydrogen, at such high pressures. I think a method of affixing the hydrogen to the surface of certain metals using a nanostructure design may help but the nano industry has yet to present practical manufacturing methods in this or in almost any area.

Adrian Akau

Although electric cars are amazing, think about the harmful effects that the chemicals being released into the environment could do! It is expensive and hard to recycle a batty when it dies at only 125,000 Miles. If some can produce hydrogen cars at a reasonable price ( not a million dollars ) I think the infrastructure should change to meet these vehicles just like it did years ago for the electric vehicle. Also compare the 400+ miles to the 40 or 70 mile range of an ev like the Chevy volt or Nissan leaf which are one of few that aren't crazy expensive

I also don't see why we can't just have both. People who need the range can take hydrogen, people who don't can take electric which is more efficient. Compare 93 and 97 mpg equivalent electric cars to 70 mpg equivalent hydrogen. Or you can compare it to a standard gas car with an ECO version ( isn't a hybrid ) and gets about half.

Ashwin Ganeshan
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