LOS ANGELES — Hyundai Motor Co.'s fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) program unveiled its second-generation fuel cell vehicle, the Tucson FCEV, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show on January 5. The Tucson FCEV is Hyundai's first hydrogen-powered vehicle taking part in fleet operations to begin the first quarter of 2005. With this working model, Hyundai will be taking its fuel cell technology "to the fleets," beginning fleet testing in three months. Fleets will eventually operate out of AC Transit of Oakland, Calif., Hyundai America Technical Center, and Southern California Edison. The fleet testing phase of Hyundai's fuel cell research and development program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). A team consisting of ChevronTexaco Corp., Hyundai Motor Co., and UTC Fuel Cells was awarded federal funds to lead a five-year demonstration and validation project designed to showcase practical applications of hydrogen energy technology. The primary goal of this multi-year project is to develop and demonstrate safe, convenient and reliable hydrogen-based distributed power generation, fuel cell vehicles and vehicle fueling infrastructure, and to educate key audiences about the use of hydrogen as a potential fuel for transportation and power generation. The Tucson FCEV has a driving range double that of its first-generation vehicle, the Santa Fe FCEV. Maximum speed and power have both increased to improve overall performance. In a major technology breakthrough, the Tucson FCEV is one of the first fuel cell vehicles capable of starting in freezing temperatures. Testing has proven that the vehicle is capable of starting after being subjected to -20 degrees Celsius temperatures for five days. Other technical advancements include a higher output fuel cell and a new lithium ion polymer battery. Built with lightweight, performance-boosting, aluminum body components, the Tucson FCEV has a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of a conventional SUV. It also features low noise levels plus a roomy cabin that offers the same level of comfort and convenience as its gasoline-powered sibling. The Tucson FCEV's power plant is located under the front hood, unlike its predecessor, which featured an under-floor installation. In addition, the Tucson FCEV is capable of starting and operating in sub-zero temperatures. Tucson FCEV's driving range has also been extended to 300 km (186 miles) thanks to its 152L (40-gallon) hydrogen storage tanks developed by Dynetek Industries Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. By contrast, the Santa Fe FCEV lacks cold weather start capability and is equipped with a 72L fuel tank. Marginally lighter than its predecessor, the Tucson FCEV also gets five more kW of power for a peak output of 80kW. Its maximum speed is rated at 150km/h (93 mph) compared to the Santa Fe's 124km/h (77 mph).

Originally posted on Fleet Financials