Hyundai’s hydrogen Tucson ix FCEV debuts

Hyundai introduced their latest hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV), the Tucson ix FCEV, at the Washington, D.C. Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Conference recently. 

The third-generation model makes some great improvements over the last Tucson FCEV released in 2009. Consumers shouldn’t get too excited, however, as the new compact crossover SUV is still in the testing phase.

Over the course of 2011, Hyundai will test a fleet of 50 vehicles in Korea, and expects the validation process to be over in time to release a select number of cars into the market place sometime in 2012. 

The majority of consumers will have to wait until 2015 to test-drive the Tucson ix FCEV. But based on the details released, the upgrades will be worth the delay.

Boasting a 20% smaller fuel cell package, the new SUV makes gain in performance as well as space.

Keeping the 100 kilowatt fuel stack, the Tucson ix FCEV swaps the older model’s super capacitor with a storage of 100 kWh for a lithium-ion-polymer battery with a storage of 21 kWh.

The maximum speed is still 100 mph, but the car can travel just over 400 miles on a single, fully-charged battery compared the second generation’s top travel distance of 230 miles.

Finally, the Tucson ix FCEV is capable of traveling in colder conditions that its predecessor and is reported to have a comparable fuel efficiency of 72 mpg. 

All in all, some very nice improvements on an already impressive line of electric SUVs. 

No word on a price-tag, but if the former model is any indication, the Tucson ix FCEV will range from $19,000 to $26,000 depending on the options selected.

* Aaron Colter, EarthTechling