By Mark Kleis
Tuesday, Feb 15th, 2011 @ 7:05 pm
 
While gas-electric hybrids and even pure electric vehicles are the alternative fuel vehicles of choice today, hydrogen power is still a technology being considered as viable replacement for fossil fuels in the somewhat distant future.

Making sure to explore all options, Hyundai has revealed its latest take on what a hydrogen-powered car should and could be: the Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, or FCEV.

The latest Tucson FCEV to come from Hyundai features some significant upgrades and changes from the second-generation, most notably being the switch from a 100 kw super capacitor to a 21 kw battery. While that move may seem like a step backwards, when coupled with the change to hydrogen storage cylinders (700 bar), fuel efficiency was improved from 63 mpge, to 72 mpge. Hyundai says that the space required to store the hydrogen was also reduced by 20 percent.

"After several years of testing, we have identified ways to maximize fuel efficiency without compromising driving experience and powertrain range. We hope to continue this momentum in finding ways to better fuel cell technology and performance," said Dr. Tae Won Lim, managing director of Hyundai's fuel cell vehicle group.

The other major improvement came in total range, up from 230 miles to an impressive 403 mile total range.

Hyundai will test about 50 new Tucson ix FCEVs throughout 2011 as part of the second phase of the Korean Government Validation Program. Hyundai plans to make a limited supply of the Tucson ix FCEV in 2012 and begin mass production in 2015.