• Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles arrive in the U.S.
  • Compact crossover available for lease to shoppers in California
  • Hydrogen cars produce water as their sole emission

The first Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles have officially arrived in the United States. That's the latest from Hyundai, which recently announced that its first shipment of hydrogen-powered crossovers has arrived in the Port of Los Angeles.

Available for lease only, the Tucson Fuel Cell will only be offered to shoppers in California. That's because California is home to 10 of the 11 total hydrogen refueling stations in the United States, meaning that drivers in other states won't be able to practically own the small crossover. In California, the Tucson Fuel Cell will be sold at dealerships in Tustin, Carson and Anaheim, all of which are Los Angeles suburbs located to the south of the city.

If you're in Southern California and you're looking to try out the Tucson Fuel Cell, you'll find that lease terms are pretty favorable, especially because the lease comes with an unlimited supply of free fuel. Hyundai is advertising the Tucson Fuel Cell for 36 months with payments from $499 per month after $2,999 down at lease signing. Hyundai says the SUV also includes the automaker's At Your Service maintenance plan, which involves home pick-up for servicing.

While the Tucson Fuel Cell looks like any other Hyundai Tucson on the outside, it's a very different story under the hood. The small crossover eschews its traditional gasoline engine for a hydrogen-powered fuel system that makes 134 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque while allowing a 300-mile useful range. Hyundai says that refueling a fuel-cell vehicle such as the Tucson Fuel Cell takes less than 10 minutes.

"The range and refueling time of our Tucson Fuel Cell compare favorably with gasoline vehicles, making them a seamless transition from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles," said Mike O'Brien, Hyundai Motor America's vice president of corporate and product planning.

Although Hyundai has not yet announced how many Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles it plans to build or sell, we expect production volume will be very limited, much like the California-only Honda FCX Clarity and the BMW Hydrogen 7. Partly due to limited infrastructure, hydrogen cars have not enjoyed widespread appeal like electric vehicles, though many automakers continue to develop the technology, since hydrogen vehicles have long ranges, can be refueled quickly and produce only water emissions.

What it means to you: The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell shows that hydrogen technology might still have a fighting chance as shoppers consider their alternative-fuel options.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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