The brand new Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) will be the very first automobile of its kind made available in Canada, and this just two short years after Hyundai became the first automaker to mass-produce fuel cell vehicles.
How does it work? Well, in very simple terms it’s an electromechanical process that combines oxygen and hydrogen in a fuel-cell that creates electricity to power an onboard electric motor. This all happens sans combustion and sans moving parts. With only water vapour as emissions, this is as green as it gets.
Without delving two deeply into the mechanical bits and bobs, here then are the ABCs of Hyundai's Tucson FCEV:
- The Hyundai Tucson FCEV's range is similar to the gas-powered Tucson's. Indeed, you can expect to travel 426 kilometres after filling up the hydrogen tanks.
- A single fill-up takes under five minutes with the Hyundai Tucson FCEV, whereas charging a battery often requires several hours.
- You get the best of both worlds (gasoline and electric) without the bad. The Hyundai Tucson FCEV offers plenty of range regardless of weather conditions. At the same time, it operates silently and produces zero emissions.
- Compressed air be damned; ambient air will suffice. Unlike other fuel cell vehicles that use compressed air to send oxygen to the cells, the Hyundai Tucson FCEV relies on atmospheric pressure. This increases fuel efficiency while cutting power consumption in half and also makes the cabin quieter.
- Hydrogen tanks are safe. No incident involving the Hyundai Tucson FCEV's hydrogen tanks has been reported to this day. Explosion hazards are infinitely small since hydrogen is lighter than air and rises quickly, dispersing. Also, four sensors would detect the tiniest leak and set off an alarm.
- The Hyundai Tucson FCEV will arrive in Canada in 2015. Due to infrastructure issues, only customers in the Vancouver area will have the opportunity to lease the Tucson FCEV at first. However, the company plans to expand the network over the next few years.