Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. has announced that it will be the first automotive company to make hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles available to the Canadian public. The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) will be available to Canadians on a 3-year lease beginning in early 2015.
The rollout of the Tuscon FCEV in Canada will be limited geographically to the greater Vancouver area, and Hyundai has set up a dedicated website to find their first customers.
While the rollout is limited in size and scope, Hyundai felt it was important to finally make fuel-cell vehicles available to Canadians.
“The challenge facing this technology has always been characterized by a chicken-and-egg scenario, where car companies won’t bring fuel cell vehicles to market without an infrastructure and there is no need for a refueling industry without customers. It’s time to move beyond simply talking about the opportunity” said Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “Hyundai was the first to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles and will be the first to bring them to Canadian customers. We’re planting the seed for a new segment of the industry.”
Initial customers will be able to lease the vehicle at $599 Canadian dollars per month over a three year term. The lease includes maintenance and unlimited hydrogen refueling. In addition, Tucson FCEV owners will enjoy an “At Your Service” valet program. Based on the company’s full-size Equus premium sedan program launched in 2010, should a Tucson FCEV require any service, a Hyundai dealer will pick up the vehicle and provide a loaner hybrid vehicle, then return it after service is complete to their home or business, at no charge.
Fueling up the Tuscon FCEV will have challenges initially, as there are very few hydrogen stations in place. According to Chad Heard, public relations manager for Hyundai Auto Canada Corp, no public fueling stations exist but they are working to ensure that hydrogen fuel is available to its customers. He said the first facility would likely be located in Surrey, BC which is a suburb of Vancouver.
Surrey, BC has shown itself to be a municipality that is actively working to develop suitable infrastructure to better accommodate alternative fuel sources for automobiles. In 2012 the city passed a by-law which requires all new gas stations to include alternative fuel sources such as a level-three electric vehicle charging station, compressed natural gas, hydrogen or propane.
Proponents of fuel cell vehicle technology are pleased about Hyundai’s decision to launch the Tuscon FCEV in Canada.
“Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to make a huge, positive impact on the environment and climate change,” said Eric Denhoff, president and CEO of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association. “Hyundai’s commitment to hydrogen power proves that it is time for us to take the next step and make the fuel cell dream a reality in Canada by expanding hydrogen infrastructure, making fuel cell vehicles the most popular and accessible vehicles for Canadians.”
For Vancouver area residents interested in learning more about the Tuscon FCEV program, they are asked to visit www.hyundaihydrogren.ca.
With the launch in Canada, Hyundai has now made its Tuscon FCEV available in 14 countries. Other countries include the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Netherland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and South Korea.