Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. (HACC) reports two surveys it commissioned found more than three-quarters of Canadians believe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are “the way of the future.”

The automaker has begun production and sales of its first such crossover, the Tucson FCV, and says it teamed up with researchers to get answers exclusively for the Canadian market.

Findings were via a “two-pronged” research study in partnership with Canadian research company Ipsos Reid and Offsetters, North America’s leading carbon management company.

The consumer insight survey revealed the majority of Canadians (75 percent) would like to drive a vehicle not powered by gasoline – but they aren’t keen to turn to traditional battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with 71 per cent of those surveyed indicating that constantly having to charge a BEV is a pain and 67 per cent feeling they are too much of a hassle to drive.

This may indicate why 64 percent demonstrated an appetite to drive a vehicle powered by hydrogen and 77 per cent believe hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles are the way of the future.

“Canadians have spoken. The appetite for hydrogen-powered vehicles is strong, and 80 percent of people agree that they would like the government to provide more support for the technology,” said Don Romano, President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “Now that we have made fuel cell vehicles available to Canadians, the hydrogen refueling infrastructure must follow to support further expansion. It’s time for other automotive manufacturers, governments, the hydrogen industry, and citizens to join us in this initiative to create a healthier environment for the next generation.”

Further, despite green cars looking less attractive in light of cheap gas these days, the Ipsos survey found 74 percent of Canadians said the see “a major benefit in the fuel cell vehicles not being reliant on highly volatile fuel prices.

“More significantly, an even higher proportion (82 percent) thinks that producing no greenhouse gas emissions is a major benefit of fuel cell vehicles. In other words, a large portion of Canadian consumers also seem to be concerned with their vehicle’s tailpipe emissions.”

Not said by Hyundai is how much the per kilogram cost of the hydrogen is. For now the price of the vehicle includes fuel so that is no worries while infrastructure comes online.

Plug-in advocates have noted this glaring omission however. What the future price of hydrogen will be is unknown.

But what Hyundai did focus on is greenhouse gas benefits.

In an effort to demonstrate the benefits of fuel cell technology in a Canadian environment, the company commissioned a broad environmental impact study conducted by Offsetters. Taking into consideration the emissions created during the production of hydrogen fuel, the study found that driving a Hyundai Tucson FCEV will result in 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to driving a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle on a well-to-wheel basis. The Tucson FCEV is also found to emit fewer air contaminants that result in smog and acid rain, demonstrating a direct benefit to air quality in densely populated cities.

“Together, these two studies provide conclusive evidence that Canadians are looking to the auto industry for another environmentally-friendly option,” added Romano. “A fuel cell powertrain provides the range and ease of refueling Canadians are used to while producing only pure water vapour as exhaust. The Tucson Fuel Cell delivers on both; truly a win-win for customers and the environment.”