Hyundai to offer Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle to LA-area retail customers in spring 2014; Honda, Toyota show latest FCV concepts targeting 2015 launch (corrected)
|Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. Click to enlarge.|
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai announced plans to offer its next-generation Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle for the US market for $499 per month, including unlimited free hydrogen refueling and At Your Service Valet Maintenance at no extra cost. Availability begins in Spring 2014 at several Southern California Hyundai dealers.
Also at the LA Auto Show, the new Honda FCEV Concept made its world debut. The concept expresses a potential styling direction for Honda’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicle anticipated to launch in the US and Japan in 2015, followed by Europe. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota highlighted its own new FCV Concept with a world premiere.
HYUNDAI TUCSON FUEL CELL
Hyundai will initially offer the Tucson Fuel Cell to customers in the Los Angeles/Orange County region for $499 per month for a 36-month term, with $2,999 down. This includes unlimited free hydrogen refueling.
When we spoke to customers interesting in driving a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, many wondered what the cost of hydrogen would be. To ease those concerns as we build-out the hydrogen refueling network, we thought covering this cost for these early adopters in the monthly payment was the best approach, and consistent with other aspects of our Hyundai Assurance program. It’s our way of saying: ‘This is another thing you don’t have to worry about, we’ve got your back.—John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America
In addition, Tucson Fuel Cell owners will enjoy all the same services of the Hyundai Equus “At Your Service” valet program. As Equus owners have enjoyed since its introduction in 2010, should a Tucson Fuel Cell require any service, a Hyundai dealer will pick up the vehicle and provide a loaner, then return their car after service to their home or business, at no charge.
Customers interested in the Tucson Fuel Cell can indicate their interest (the first step in the ordering process) beginning by visiting Hyundai.com.
The first four Hyundai dealers to offer the Tucson Fuel Cell to Southern California customers are Hardin Hyundai in Anaheim; Win Hyundai in Carson; Keyes Hyundai in Van Nuys; and Tustin Hyundai, with additional Hyundai dealers to follow. Availability of the Tucson Fuel Cell will expand to other regions of the country consistent with the accelerating deployment of hydrogen refueling stations.
To achieve societal goals of significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, more and more consumers will need to drive zero-emissions vehicles. Currently, there’s an ongoing debate about the future of the electric vehicle, which Hyundai condensed into two approaches:
Store more electricity on-board using more/larger batteries
Create electricity on-board with hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology
Hyundai is taking the second approach. While the battery electric vehicle has made progress in recent years, with improved affordability and energy storage capability, for most consumers, range anxiety and lengthy recharging time remain formidable obstacles, Hyundai said. In addition, affordable electric vehicle technology is best suited to smaller urban vehicles, not larger family and utility vehicles that many families require to meet all of their needs. Because of the inherent weight and cost of batteries, and the chemistry and physics that drive slow recharge times, today’s electric vehicles have practical limits for many consumers, Hyundai suggested.
Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles represent the next generation of zero-emission vehicle technology, so we’re thrilled to be a leader in offering the mass-produced, federally certified Tucson Fuel Cell to retail customers. The superior range and fast-fill refueling speed of our Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle contrast with the lower range and slow-charge characteristics of competing battery electric vehicles. We think fuel cell technology will increase the adoption rate of zero-emission vehicles, and we’ll all share the environmental benefits.—John Krafcik
The Tucson Fuel Cell offers:
- Driving range up to an estimated 300 miles;
- Capable of full refueling in less than 10 minutes, similar to gasoline;
- Minimal reduction in daily utility compared with its gasoline counterpart;
- Instantaneous electric motor torque (221 lb-ft);
- Minimal cold-weather effects compared with battery electric vehicles;
- Reliability and long-term durability;
- No moving parts within the power-generating fuel cell stack;
- More than two million durability test miles on Hyundai’s fuel cell fleet since 2000; and
- Extensive crash, fire and leak testing successfully completed.
Hyundai began production of the ix35 Fuel Cell (the Tucson’s counterpart in Europe) at the company’s Ulsan manufacturing plant in Korea in January 2013; the first complete car rolled off the assembly line on 26 February 2013.
The ix35 Fuel Cell—Hyundai’s third-generation fuel cell vehicle—delivers large improvements over its predecessor, including a driving range that has been extended by more than 50% and fuel efficiency gains of more than 15%.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is equipped with a 100 kW electric motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). Two hydrogen storage tanks, with a total capacity of 5.64 kg, enable the vehicle to travel a total of 594 km (369 miles) on a single charge, and it can reliably start in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. The energy is stored in a 24
kWh kW lithium-ion polymer battery, jointly developed with LG Chemical.
The Tucson Fuel Cell begins mass production for the US market in February 2014 at Ulsan—the plant that also manufactures the Tucson gasoline-powered CUV. Manufacturing the Tucson Fuel Cell at the same plant allows Hyundai to leverage both the high quality and cost-efficiency of its popular gasoline-powered Tucson platform.
|Click to enlarge.|
According to 2013 studies on well-to-wheel greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) by the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles have the lowest overall emission levels of all alternative fuel entries. Well-to-wheel emissions for hydrogen vehicles sourced from natural gas are lower than battery electric vehicles (based on the average carbon footprint of the entire US grid), and less than half of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions. Hydrogen emissions sourced from biogas are a tiny fraction of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions.
(Hyundai’s Fuel Cell prototypes have relied on hydrogen generated at the Orange County Sanitation District near its Fountain Valley headquarters, where methane from sewage is turned into hydrogen.)
Hyundai is also partnering with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to make the Tucson Fuel Cell available to consumers at select locations in the Los Angeles/Orange County region. This partnership will enable interested consumers to evaluate the Tucson Fuel Cell for their lifestyles on a multi-day basis, with rental availability also planned for Spring 2014.
HONDA FCEV CONCEPT
|The Honda FCEV Concept. Click to enlarge.|
Significant technological advancements to the fuel-cell stack have yielded more than 100 kW of power output. The power density is now 3 kW/L, an increase of 60%, with the stack size reduced 33% compared to the FCX Clarity. The next-generation Honda FCEV is anticipated to deliver a driving range of more than 300 miles (483 km) with a quick refueling time of about three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa.
The Honda FCEV Concept features sweeping character lines underscored by an ultra-aerodynamic body. The Honda FCEV Concept also delivers ample passenger space and seating for 5-passengers thanks to new powertrain packaging efficiencies.
The next generation fuel cell-electric vehicle launching in 2015 will feature the first application of a fuel-cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle, allowing for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types in the future.
You probably know the conventional wisdom on fuel cells—that they are the technology of the future and always will be. We’re working to change that mindset. Too often talk about future timelines in 2015 and 2020 is met with skepticism, either about the technology or the commitment. So let me give you a word of advice today—don’t confuse our candor with a lack of progress. The advancement we are making is substantial, meaningful and very real.
We also acknowledge that the hydrogen refueling infrastructure needs to expand dramatically both here in California and across this nation. That’s why we were pleased when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a provision to kick-start an expanded network for refueling. This also is why Honda is an enthusiastic participant in a federal program, H2USA.
In the meantime, the mass production fuel cell electric vehicle under development in our engineering labs will be our next significant step forward in this process. So, what you see here on stage is more than a concept car—this Honda FCEV Concept is a commitment to the future of mobility.—Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co.
Honda has invested nearly two decades in the development and deployment of fuel-cell technology through extensive real world testing, including the first government fleet deployment and retail customer leasing program. Honda has made significant technological advancements in fuel-cell operation in both hot and sub-freezing weather, meeting stringent emissions requirements and safety regulations since the introduction of its first generation fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX in 2002.
Honda began leasing its first-generation FCEV, the Honda FCX, in 2002 and has deployed vehicles in the US and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Honda has delivered these vehicles to individual retail consumers in the US and collected valuable data concerning real-world use of fuel cell-electric vehicles and hydrogen stations.
Honda’s current fuel cell-electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity, launched in July 2008. (Earlier post.) With the V-flow fuel cell stack positioned down the center of the vehicle and the electric motor located in the front of the vehicle, Honda was able to maintain the Clarity’s futuristic styling while delivering 240 miles (386 km) of driving range.
In the effort to speed the advance of a refueling infrastructure, in May 2013, American Honda joined the public-private partnership H2USA, which brings together automakers, government agencies, hydrogen suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel-cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.
In July 2013, Honda entered into a long-term collaborative agreement with General Motors to co-develop the next-generation of fuel-cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 timeframe. The collaboration expects to succeed by sharing technological expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies. (Earlier post.)
TOYOTA FCV CONCEPT
|Toyota FCV Concept Click to enlarge.|
The Toyota FCV Concept is a practical concept of the fuel cell vehicle Toyota plans to launch around 2015 as a pioneer in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The vehicle has a driving range of at least 500 km (311 miles) and refueling times as low as three minutes.
With Toyota’s proprietary small, light-weight FC Stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath the specially designed body, the Toyota FCV Concept can accommodate up to four occupants.
The Toyota FC Stack has a power output density of 3 kW/L, more than twice that of the current “Toyota FCHV-adv” FC Stack, and an output of at least 100 kW. In addition, the FC system is equipped with Toyota’s high-efficiency boost converter. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells, leading to a smaller system offering enhanced performance at reduced cost.
Fully fueled, the vehicle can provide enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average Japanese home (10 kWh) for more than one week.