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2005 LA AUTO SHOW:Hyundai Unveils First Hydrogen-Powered Tucson SUV

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  • SEE ALSO: Test Ride Hyundai Tucson Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle - Video
  • Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle Will Initiate Fleet Testing Program

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5 -- Hyundai Motor Co.'s fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) program today unveiled its second-generation fuel cell vehicle, the Tucson FCEV, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The Tucson FCEV is Hyundai's first hydrogen-powered vehicle taking part in fleet operations to begin in the first quarter of 2005.

    Hyundai's second-generation fuel cell vehicle is dramatically improved in almost every way. The Tucson FCEV has a driving range double that of Hyundai's first-generation vehicle, the Santa Fe FCEV. Maximum speed and power have both increased to improve the overall performance. In a major technology breakthrough, the Tucson FCEV is one of the first fuel cell vehicles capable of starting in freezing temperatures. Testing has proven that the vehicle is capable of starting after being subjected to -20 degrees Celsius temperatures for five days. Other technical advancements include a higher output fuel cell and a new lithium ion polymer battery.

    "These advances in our fuel cell electric vehicles are exciting steps forward for our program," said Kim Sang-Kwon, president of research and development for Hyundai-Kia Motors. "The Tucson FCEV is proof that Hyundai has significantly improved efficiency and quality control in the manufacturing process."

    With this working model, Hyundai will be taking its fuel cell technology "to the fleets" and will begin fleet testing in just three months. Fleets will eventually operate out of AC Transit of Oakland, Calif., Hyundai America Technical Center and Southern California Edison.

    The fleet testing phase of Hyundai's fuel cell research and development program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). A team consisting of ChevronTexaco Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and UTC Fuel Cells was awarded federal funds to lead a five-year demonstration and validation project designed to showcase practical applications of hydrogen energy technology. The primary goal of this multi-year project is to develop and demonstrate safe, convenient and reliable hydrogen-based distributed power generation, fuel cell vehicles and vehicle fueling infrastructure, and to educate key audiences about the use of hydrogen as a potential fuel for transportation and power generation.

    "Entering this new phase of our program will allow us to build fuel cell electric vehicles at higher volumes for fleet testing applications," said President Kim. "It also brings us one step closer to the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles."

    About the Tucson FCEV

    Built with lightweight, performance-boosting aluminum body components, the Tucson FCEV has a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of a conventional SUV. It also features low noise levels plus a roomy cabin that offers the same level of comfort and convenience as its gasoline-powered sibling.

    Unlike the Santa Fe FCEV, the Tucson Fuel Cell program has been running on a parallel path with the conventional Tucson providing fully digitized engineering data from the earliest stages.

    The Tucson FCEV's power plant has been relocated under the front hood, unlike its predecessor, which featured an under-floor installation. In addition, the Tucson FCEV is capable of starting and operating in sub-zero temperatures.

    Tucson FCEV's driving range has also been extended to 300 km (186 miles) thanks to its 152-liter (40-gallon) hydrogen storage tanks developed by Dynetek Industries Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. By contrast, the Santa Fe FCEV lacks cold weather start capability and is equipped with a 72-liter fuel tank.

    Marginally lighter than its predecessor, the Tucson FCEV also gets five more kW of power for a peak output of 80kW. Its maximum speed is rated at 150km/h (93 mph) compared to the Santa Fe's 124km/h (77 mph).

    As in the Santa Fe FCEV, Hyundai has once again partnered with UTC Fuel Cells of South Windsor, Connecticut, which will supply the hydrogen-powered fuel cell. Enova Systems, of Torrance, Calif., has been tapped to provide the next generation hybrid-electric drive train, motor and control unit. The Hyundai Tucson FCEV 152-V high voltage battery was co-developed by Hyundai Motor Co. and LG Chem in Seoul, Korea.

    Hyundai formed its first fuel cell task force team in 2000 and by October of the same year, it unveiled the Santa Fe FCEV, its first prototype fuel cell vehicle. Hyundai has been an active member in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) in Sacramento, Calif. for five years. Past-generation Hyundai fuel cell vehicles have participated in numerous CaFCP Road Rallies and Michelin Challenge Bibendums where Hyundai has won gold and silver awards in a variety of categories.

    About Hyundai Motor Co.

    Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, which includes over two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Employing over 50,000 people worldwide, Hyundai Motor posted US$20.8 billion in sales in 2003 (on a non-consolidated basis). Hyundai motor vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5000 dealerships and showrooms. Further information about Hyundai Motor Co. and its products is available on the Internet at