Hyundai preps third-gen hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

Forget all the buzz about current electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. That’s right – Hyundai recently completed the development phase of its third-gen hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, dubbed the Tucson ix.

The futuristic e-vehicle is expected to enter an accelerated testing phase in 2011, with a large-scale roll-out set for 2015.

The Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) will come equipped with a 100-kilowatt fuel cell system and two hydrogen storage tanks, giving it the power to travel 403 miles (650 kilometers) on a single charge – a range roughly equivalent to that of gas-powered car.

This represents a 76 percent improvement over the second-generation Tucson FCEV, which was limited to a range almost half that (370 kilometers).

Other key issues that have been addressed by this new and improved model include bulk (overall volume of the fuel cell system has been reduced by 20-percent over the previous Tucson ix system) and tolerance to cold, a key issue for fuel cell vehicles. 

According to Hyundai, the vehicle-which will be part of a “Domestic Fleet Program” supported by the Korean government next year-can start in temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius.

* Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling