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Hyundai, Feds Focus on Fuel Cell Future

Sections: Powertrain

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Hyundai Tucson FCEV Press Photo

Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle is seen fueling up. Hyundai joined a number of automakers, hydrogen industry leaders, and government agencies including the Energy Department in an effort the Energy Department is calling H2USA. The partnership is designed to make fuel cells more capable and affordable. (Photo courtesy Hyundai.)

Hyundai is teaming with the U.S. Department of Energy to “focus on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation options for U.S. consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs),” according to a release from the automaker.

Named after the chemical symbol for hydrogen, the H2USA partnership will bring together government agencies like the Energy Department with gas suppliers, the hydrogen and fuel cell industries, and car manufacturers including Hyundai, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota, the Hyundai release said. A more detailed list of partners found in the Energy Department’s own press release said current members of the H2USA partnership include the American Gas Association, Association of Global Automakers, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, Hyundai Motor America, ITM Power, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America Research and Development, Proton OnSite, and Toyota Motor North America.

Energy Department Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said, “Fuel cell technologies are an important part of an all-of-the-above approach to diversify America’s transportation sector, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase our competitiveness in the global market. By bringing together key stakeholders from across the U.S. fuel cell and hydrogen industry, the H2USA partnership will help advance affordable fuel cell electric vehicles that save consumers money and give drivers more options.”

For its part, Hyundai said it is producing a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV, with the goal of selling 1,000 of them by 2015. While that goal sounds like setting the bar pretty low upon first reading it, a quote from Hyundai Motor America Alternative Vehicle Strategy Senior Group Manager Gil Castillo drives home the point that it’s still early days for the Korean automaker’s fuel cell development process:

“Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell program is an integral part of our plan to develop low-carbon, fuel-efficient vehicles that minimize fuel consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Our partnership with the Energy Department and H2USA is another way Hyundai is striving to meet the critical social needs for both mobility and environmental preservation.”

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