Hyundai announces availability of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2014

  • Hyundai announces availability of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2014

    Hyundai just announced that beginning in the spring of 2014, they will make available hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the limited US markets of Los Angeles and Orange County. Hyundai will offer these vehicles through selected dealers for $499/month over a 36 month term, with $2999 down. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the offer is that the deal comes with unlimited free hydrogen refueling. That part of the deal is designed to remove any range anxiety of the potential buyer, something that continues to inhibit many who are considering buying electric vehicles. And if there is ever a problem with the fuel cell, Hyundai will pickup the vehicle and provide a loaner, then deliver the vehicle back to the customer’s home or business at no charge after the service is complete.

    The initial set of dealers are in Tustin, Anaheim, Carson, and Van Nuys. More Hyundai dealers will follow as the program gains traction and spreads across the US as more hydrogen refueling stations are made available. According to the California Station Map, in California there are currently 9 hydrogen fueling stations available to the public, 19 hydrogen fueling stations in development, and 12 stations that are private or for demonstration purposes.

    The announcement from Hyundai touts the advantages of fuel cell vehicles, calling them the next generation of electric vehicles. Not only do these vehicles provide a 300 mile driving range, comparable to petroleum based vehicles, but they are rated lower than electric vehicles for their well-to-wheel emissions rating. And here’s the kicker for the c-store fuel manager: these vehicles are capable of refueling in under 10 minutes, “similar to gasoline”, according to the Hyundai announcement.

    No doubt this is a program geared toward the early adopter. And it’s not likely that next year will be the year to add hydrogen fuel to your fuels portfolio. But it is an important milestone to record; from here on in we will watch the reality of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles unfold into mainstream.

    Yet to be determined: what kind of margins can the retail fuel marketer expect to see in a hydrogen fuel offering?

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