Fuel cell vehicles are powered by amazing technology. They generate electricity from hydrogen through an electrochemical process within a fuel cell stack. These vehicles combine the best attributes of gasoline and battery-powered cars, resulting in a clean, long range vehicle with fast refueling times. Hyundai has been developing and testing its proprietary fuel cell technologies for over 15 years. Now ready for select customers in Southern California, Tucson Fuel Cell is the first mass-produced, federally-certified hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available in the U.S. market.
The benefits of hydrogen are well known — required supplies for the U.S. market can be produced domestically and its supply is virtually unlimited. It can be produced by varied means – including renewable sources such as biogas. In fact, 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. Hydrogen can even be sourced directly from water, using electrolysis to split hydrogen molecules with electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Further supporting hydrogen infrastructure development, California approved a plan in October 2013 to develop up to 100 hydrogen refueling stations in the state over the next several years. This recent California initiative dovetails with increased government support of hydrogen infrastructure development at the federal level, such as H2USA.
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, and less than half of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions. Even more impressive, hydrogen emissions sourced from biogas are a tiny fraction of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions, yielding an extremely high factor of long-range emissions sustainability.
Earlier this summer, Hyundai leased its first mass-produced Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle to the first consumer in Southern California.
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