Hyundai rolls out hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the U.S.

Hyundai awarded the key to the very first customer of Tucson Fuel Cell CUV, marking the official rollout of the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on Wednesday at three select car dealers in Southern California: Tustin Hyundai, Hardin Hyundai in Anaheim and Win Hyundai in Carson.

Customer Timothy Bush, who is from Huntington Beach in California, received the keys from John Patterson, Hyundai’s dealer principal in Tustin.

"My family is certainly excited to be doing their part in driving a zero-emission vehicle that benefits the environment, and at the same time, reduces our nation’s dependence on imported fuels," Bush says in a statement.

Bush further says that the great thing about Tucson CUV is how virtually identical its daily utility is to the gasoline versions, which doesn’t compromise their lifestyle along the way. Add to that the fact that Hyundai’s $499 lease rate and its unlimited free hydrogen fuel make an attractive offer.

"Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles represent the next generation of zero-emission vehicle technology, and we’re thrilled to be a leader in offering the mass-produced Tucson Fuel Cell to our first retail customer," Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO at Hyundai Motor America, says in a statement.

Tucson Fuel Cell CUV’s refueling speed and range, says Zuchowksi, can be compared favorably with the usual gasoline vehicles, so it provides a seamless transition for its owners. He also believes that fuel-cell technology will intensify the adoption of such zero-emission vehicles, in which everyone gets benefit from.

Zuchowski also reveals that Hyundai’s decision to produce fuel-cell vehicles to the public is partly because of the commitment of support it received from the State of California and its government agencies. Among which is the California Air Resources Board.

"These ultra-clean vehicles play a critical role in our efforts to clean the air and meet our climate goals. Fuel cell cars are not vehicles of the future – they’re here now, and we applaud Hyundai for bringing them first to market in California where they are most needed," Air Resources Board chairman Mary D. Nichols says in a statement.

Hyundai announced in November last year of its plans to offer the next-gen Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles to the U.S. market for only $499 a month and a down payment of $2,999 in a 36-month term. The offer would include free hydrogen refueling and free At Your Service Valet Maintenance. The vehicle, however, only comes in white color.

The company declined to reveal the current orders for the Tucson zero-emission cars or how many it plans to produce this year, but it will initially be available in the Los Angeles/Orange County region.

Hyundai isn’t the only one producing the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Research says Toyota will also go into production by the end of this year, which was earlier than planned. Its plan to produce zero-emission vehicles was announced during the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013.

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