Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell expected to catch up with Honda Clarity's range
The extra distance could help offset scant infrastructure, with barely more than two dozen refueling stations available in California.
Hyundai is reportedly developing a second-generation Tucson Fuel Cell with a significant range boost.
The crossover was among the first hydrogen-powered vehicles to arrive in the US market, but its 265-mile range falls short of current rivals. Toyota's Mirai delivers 312 miles, while the forthcoming Honda Clarity FCV boasts a leading 366-mile EPA range estimate.
Presumably upon the third-generation Tucson platform introduced for the 2015 model year, the revamped FCV is expected to bring a 30 percent increase in range, according to a Nikkei report (via Green Car Reports). If true, US buyers could expect around 350 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.
The current Tucson FCV experienced a slow start in its first year on the market in California, with just 70 customers signing leases by the middle of 2015. With average odometer readings of just 6,800 miles at the time, the crossover appeared to be serving only as a secondary vehicle for most owners.
Taking a look at the California's Fuel Cell Partnership map of refueling stations provides an explanation for the lackluster sales. Only a handful of stations were active late last year. The number has since grown, but only recently surpassed two dozen. In the meantime, Tesla has built more than twice as many Superchargers around the state.
Cost also remains an issue for fuel-cell technology, which remains expensive compared to the latest long-rang EVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt and upcoming Tesla Model 3. The cost is not immediately clear to many consumers, as most FCV makers limit availability to discounted leases in California, however the second-generation Tucson Fuel Cell is expected to cost the equivalent of more than $50,000.