Nerd Level of the Following: 7/10 (I’ve tried to dial it down as much as possible for us normal folk)
It’s official. Society has fully embraced the hybrid vehicle. Not quite flying cars, we can at least enjoy better gas economy. It’s a dream inspired by my favorite Serb-Croatian Nikola Tesla way back in the 1920s. Although many sources say that Tesla did not create an electric Pierce-Arrow, he did invent a gazillion other things way before their time. Let’s just say that it’s not too far-fetched of an idea that the man whose goal was free wireless electricity for the whole world wouldn’t have attempted to build an electric car.
Fast forward to 2015 and there is no doubt that the electric car is close to going mainstream. The 2016 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell technology promises the low emissions of a battery-electric vehicle with the range and refueling convenience of a gasoline-powered car.
Available only as a three-year lease, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell price will cost drivers $499 per month plus $2,999 down. In California, where the Tucson is marketed exclusively, the state will pay the down payment and then some with a $5,000 subsidy, meaning the monthly payment works out to $443. Moreso, Hyundai will pay for all your Tucson Fuel Cell’s hydrogen-fuel, most likely because federal incentives for fuel cell vehicles go straight to the manufacturer.
Here’s How the 2016 Tucson Fuel Cell Works In Layman’s Terms:
According to Hyundai, the cost of the technology has been cut by 40 percent over the past 15 years. Still, fuel cells remain expensive, in part because of the platinum needed for their proton-exchange membranes.
How Does the Fuel Cell Make Its Electricity?
The fuel cell makes its electricity from an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and air.
Hydrogen atoms stored in high-pressure tanks pass through a membrane that strips away their electrons, creating the electricity to power the motor.
Water (from hydrogen protons combining with air on the other side of the membrane) exits out of the tailpipe.
Where Does the Hydrogen Come From?
Hydrogen may be the most abundant element in the universe, but isolating it on earth isn’t as simple as scooping it out of your drinking water.
A fuel cell vehicle’s total greenhouse-gas production—everything from vehicle manufacturing to fuel distribution—depends on how its fuel is created.
Hydrogen can be accumulated in a number of ways, but the simplest method is electrolysis.
Just think of the Tucson Fuel Cell battery as a big one that only operates when it’s full of hydrogen.
Where Can I Even Find a Hydrogen Station?
Here’s where it makes a little more sense that Hyundai will be footing the hydrogen fuel bill.
Right now there are no hydrogen stations in Kentucky, and even in Los Angeles where the car is currently being sold there are just six public stations.
Filling the Tucson’s two hydrogen tanks from empty takes about 10 minutes. The two tanks near the rear axle hold 12.4 pounds of hydrogen at 10,000 PSI, about 265 miles worth. Borrowing its own Sonata hybrid battery, this powerhouse sits under the floor and acts as a buffer to power the motor until the fuel cell starts making enough electricity.
With Kentucky hydrogen stations hitting the map soon, the fuel cell has the potential to compete with battery electric vehicles in Lexington. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of fuel cell vehicles in the Bluegrass State as time goes on. You can bet that as soon as you can buy a 2016 Hyundai Tucson CUV in Lexington (of the fuel cell variety), it will be at your Glenn Hyundai dealer near Nicholasville. For more information on how you can also take advantage of major government discounts on the Tucson Fuel Cell, stay tuned to the Hyundai manufacturer incentives page.