Hyundai has high hopes for hydrogen fuel in the USMarch 20, 2013
Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel initiatives gain momentum
South Korean automaker Hyundai recently began mass production of its hydrogen-powered Tucson ix35, nearly a year ahead of schedule. The automaker believes that the hydrogen fuel infrastructure needed to support hydrogen-powered vehicles may be lacking in many markets, but also that the time is right to expose consumers to these vehicles. In the U.S., hydrogen fuel is not particularly popular, but the country is still one of Hyundai’s favored markets. As such, the automaker has announced that the Tucson ix35 will be sold in every state of the U.S.
US currently lacks comprehensive fuel infrastructure to support hydrogen-powered vehicles
The U.S. is one of the countries with a very flimsy hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Though the country has been showing more support for hydrogen fuel through the Department of Energy, an infrastructure capable of supporting a massive influx of hydrogen-powered vehicles has yet to take form. Currently, the only infrastructures capable of supporting hydrogen-powered vehicles can be found in California and along the East Coast. In many other parts of the country, however, infrastructure is very limited, if not entirely non-existent.
Hyundai expects more success than its competitors
Hyundai is not the first to bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to the U.S. Honda’s FCX Clarity has been on sale in several states for the past few years. The FCX Clarity, however, has only sold 40 units since being introduced to the U.S. market. Hyundai expects that its Tucson ix35 will perform better than its competitor, but any success the vehicle is expected to see will rely heavily on the availability of hydrogen fuel. This may be a non-issue, however, as Hyundai is also committed to investing in the expansion of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure throughout the country.
Hydrogen fuel stations cost less than gasoline stations
According to Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, the installation of a new hydrogen fuel station is $1 million, only slightly less expensive than the installation of a new gasoline station. The rising prices of oil are making traditional gasoline more expensive, which is adding to the cost of new gas stations, but hydrogen fuel is significantly less expensive. Thus, the adoption of hydrogen fuel, while initially expensive, is expected to save consumers a significant amount of money in the long term.