According to the South Korean automaker’s top manager in the United States, the lack of an appropriate refueling network for the hydrogen powered Tucson sport utility vehicle variant has limited the appeal of the model.
The issue – common among all types of alternative powered vehicles – has caused the company to refuse potential customers access to the model because they were not close enough to the very few hydrogen refilling pumps currently in use and available for public use in California, located mostly in the southern part of the state. Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America added the situation is going to reverse over the next few years as the state has awarded funds to the firms wanting to establish new hydrogen refueling stations. Hyundai so far has delivered less than 100 units of the Tucson FCV since it was brought in the US last summer, with the maker now more concerned about promoting its other two alternative power models, the Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
While fuel cell vehicles are very interesting to potential customers, but since there are only half-dozen refilling stations in the Southern California area where the vehicle is sold, the customers need to be close enough to be able to fill up the tank. The State of California has pledged millions of dollars to expand the hydrogen infrastructure, as it mulls to have at least 100 refill stations. That could prove crucial, as Toyota is also ready to start selling on the US market its own fuel cell model – the Mirai – and in the near future Honda would also bring its own rival in the segment.