Hyundai is taking a big step toward eliminating the biggest hurdle in the way of fuel cell electric cars, which is of course the lack of hydrogen fueling stations. In a joint project with California Energy Commission (CEC) and Hydrogen Frontier, Inc., who recently got a $3 million grant to build the station, Hyundai is preparing the first public hydrogen station in Chino, California.
A fuel cell car is basically an electric car, but it doesn’t need recharging. It comes with its own on board generator which converts hydrogen into electricity, which is used to power the car. The only emission of this process is H2O – water. FCEVs are far better than EVs in every way because to live with they are exactly like conventional cars.
The only problem is, there is no infrastructure to mass produce hydrogen, and no facilities to distribute it. Actually, that is not the problem with hydrogen cars. The real problem is the lack of will among governments and automakers to invest in building that infrastructure. They still think the rubbish plug-in electric cars are the answer.
Hyundai is one of the few car makers who has recognized the importance of hydrogen fuel cell, and with strategic moves like this, they are cementing their position as the FCEV leader. The Californian hydrogen pump will be located at the site of an existing hydrogen station originally constructed in 2005 to support Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle fleet. It is expected to become operational in October 2014.
Hyundai already has a FCEV in production, the Tucson Fuel Cell. The car is currently available to fleet drivers in some parts of the world, but Hyundai hopes that as the hydrogen refueling infrastructure development is expanding, public demand for such vehicles increase and they switch to a full-scale production.