Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. introduces its new Tucson fuel cell vehicle

Friday, Feb 13, 2015

At the Toronto auto show today, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. introduced its new Tucson fuel cell vehicle -- and the car’s first Canadian buyers.

Hyundai bills the crossover as the first fuel cell vehicle available for lease by average consumers in Canada. But there are a number of caveats.

Hydrogen fueling stations are still rare. So Hyundai first found a fueling station available to the public, and then picked a nearby dealer to handle the transaction and service.

Only then did it review more than 500 applications it had received from consumers who, after the car’s unveiling in November, said they’d like to buy it.

An application from Jennifer Ma, a Vancouver, British Columbia, chiropractor, was selected. Her husband, Clayton Crawley, who works in biotech, said they would take delivery of the car next week.

“My kids are beach bums,” Crawley said, referring to preschoolers Isaac and Madeleine. “Getting there while reducing our environmental impact will be awesome.”

36-month lease

The couple was chosen in part for their home’s proximity to both the fueling station and the dealership: Jim Pattison Hyundai Surrey.

Their C$599 a month, 36-month lease, with a C$3,995 down payment, will include free fueling at a hydrogen station operated by Powertech Labs Inc., of Surrey, British Columbia. The clean-energy consulting company also installs electric-vehicle chargers.

There are two hydrogen fueling stations in British Columbia, but only one offers the 10,000 pounds per square inch pressure that the Tucson fuel cell vehicle uses.

Refueling at the other station, which offers 5,000 psi, would be “like driving around on half a tank all the time,” said Michael Ricciuto, Hyundai Canada’s director of product and corporate strategy.

The hydrogen at the fueling station comes from a company that makes chemicals for the paper and pulp industry, turning out hydrogen as an exhaust.