Hyundai's first mass-produced Tucson Fuel Cell CUVs have shipped to customers in Southern California.
While prototype Tucson Fuel Cell models have been available for testing for several years by corporate and university fleets, this is the first delivery of a mass-produced fuel cell vehicle for the U.S. market, for leasing by individual consumers - you and me.
Under the Hyundai leasing program, approved lessees can drive Hyundai's next-generation Tucson Fuel Cell for just $499 per month for a 36-month lease, including unlimited free hydrogen refueling and "At Your Service" valet maintenance at no extra cost.
The fuel cell models are available first at these three select southern California Hyundai dealers: Tustin Hyundai, Win Hyundai in Carson, and Hardin Hyundai in Anaheim.
Hyundai is expected to roll out additional dealerships in California as additional fuel cell vehicles are shipped from Japan.
"Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles represent the next generation of zero-emission electric vehicle technology, and we're proud of our leadership role in this important segment of the alternative fuel vehicle market," said Mike O'Brien, vice president, corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America.
"The range and refueling time of our Tucson Fuel Cell compare favorably with gasoline vehicles, making them a seamless transition from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. We're excited to provide customers in Southern California a way to transition to a zero-emission vehicle with minimal compromises.
Many auto experts see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as "the next big thing".
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles actually were "the next big thing" until Toyota launched the hybrid Prius, which essentially put fuel cell research on the back burner as a choice for the family car. Fuel cells do power municipal busses in cities around the world, including Vancouver, and manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz have a fuel cell models ready for the retail showroom. The Mercedes model is a compact B-Class.
Hyundai has logged more than 200,000 pageviews to its dedicated fuel cell microsite, proving interest in fuel cell vehicles is strong. We'll have to wait and see whether interest translates into signed leases. As with electric vehicles, more refueling infrastructure is needed before the FCV can go mainstream.
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