Hydrogen Price War Imminent? Hyundai Slashes 43% Off Price of Hydrogen Fuel Cell CUV in South Korea

First to market with a hydrogen fuel cell variant of its popular Tucson CUV, the Tucson FCV, South-Korean automaker Hyundai is no-longer the only hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer on the block, with competition coming from both Honda’s as-yet unnamed FCV Sedan and Toyota’s recently-launched 2015 Mirai fuel cell sedan.

And as both the hybrid and electric car revolutions have taught us, being first to market doesn’t secure a company’s place in history: being able to offer an outstanding product at the best possible price does.

Hyundai has just slashed the price of the Tucson FCV in South Korea by 43 per cent.

Hyundai has just slashed the price of the Tucson FCV in South Korea by 43 per cent.

So it’s no surprise then that Hyundai has responded to the recent launch of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan in Japan to slash the price of its own fuel cell vehicle in its domestic market of South Korea.

What’s astonishing is how much that price slash is worth: a massive 43 percent reduction in price.

As WardsAuto reported on Tuesday, Hyundai has just slashed the price of its Tucson FCV in South Korea from around $144,000 U.S. to $77,000 U.S., bringing the hydrogen fuel cell car within reach of many more consumers.

Previously, Government subsidies in South Korea had lowered the sticker price from the equivalent of $144,000 U.S. to around $86,000 U.S., says WardsAuto, but the new price reduction plus generous South Korean subsidies put the net price to consumers down to $54,000.

The attentive will note that this places the Hyundai Tucson FCV a little lower in price than Toyota’s promised $57,500 sticker price for the 2016 Mirai, government subsidies pending.

The price slash -- if followed in the U.S. -- would put Hyundai's FCV on an even playing field against the 2016 Toyota Mirai

The price slash — if followed in the U.S. — would put Hyundai’s FCV on an even playing field against the 2016 Toyota Mirai

With seating for five and an EPA-approved 265 miles per fill — a figure of around 49 miles per kilogram of hydrogen — the Hyundai Tucson FCV has about the same range as Tesla’s all-electric Model S Sedan. With a little careful driving — just like an electric car — that range can be impressively extended, yet unlike an electric car the Tucson FCV needs to be refilled at a dedicated hydrogen filling station rather than a domestic wall outlet.

To combat that inconveninece, Hyundai — like Toyota behind it and Honda’s limited test-fleet of Clarity FCX cars before it — is offering customers free fuel during their ownership of the car. But while it’s possible to buy the Hyundai Tucson FCV outright in South Korea, it is only currently leased in Europe and North America.

At the time of writing, Hyundai hasn’t detailed any price reductions for the Tucson FCV in North America or in Europe, where it is sold as the iX 35 FCV. Instead, Hyundai bosses say we should expect price announcements for non-domestic markets at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Currently, The Tucson FCV is available lease-only in North America for $499 a month with $2,999 down. In Europe, leasing prices are not publicly available.

European and U.S. pricing reductions are expected to be announced in Geneva next month.

European and U.S. pricing reductions are expected to be announced in Geneva next month.

In addition to announcing the massive price slash for its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, Hyundai also announced a massive investment totalling $165 million in funding to support automotive industry startups working with fuel cell vehicles, the development of hydrogen fuelling infrastructure and investment in local small and medium-sized businesses in the southwestern city of Gwangju, South Korea where Hyundai is centring its hydrogen fuel cell innovation efforts.

All of this is particularly costly for the automaker, especially since it admitted just last summer that the Tuscon FCV was a loss-leading compliance car.

Is Hyundai’s announcement the start of a pricing war between hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufactures looking to win early-adopters? Will fuel cell vehicles start being priced to match other alternative fuelled vehicles like electric cars? And would you consider a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle if the price was right?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • CDspeed

    They probably slashed the price because it isn’t selling and the Mirai was a convenient excuse. And that massively high price for any Hyundai is ridiculous, you could buy a Mercedes G-Class for that kind of money, or get in line for a Model X.

    • Nice tinfoil hat.nnBut ultimately, a hydrogen “engine” has fewer moving parts and is easier to build than an ICE. nnThat means ultimately it can cost less than today’s gasoline cars.

      • heltonja

        A 5 pound brick of gold is simple to produce with no moving parts but its also very expensive to produce. And don’t forget the precious metal is consumed overtime, so you had better hope that fuel cells are very inexpensive in 10 years when you will need a new one. and did I mention that hydrogen is more expensive than gasoline

      • CDspeed

        And electric cars are less complex then hydrogen, and are so simple you could even build one at home. You also don’t need a bomb pressurized to 8,000 PSI in the trunk.

  • heltonja

    I can’t imagine they were making much of a profit, if any, at $144,000, so this just means that Hyundai is eating that price reduction. We’ll see how long they will be willing to keep subsidizing their own vehicle, when their ability to pass those cost along to their other customers will be limited by competition.

    • A fuel cell is a very simple technology. Mostly thin films. Once they scale up, it should be quite cheap to produce.

      • heltonja

        The concept of a fuel cell in simple it’s been around since the late 1800’s however fuel cells that generate the power necessary for automotive applications were a minimum of 100,000 dollars just a few years ago now even if prices are approaching $60 per kilowatt or about 20,000 per vehicle it is still expensive. especially for a component that must be replaced if you keep the car more than 10 years. All this for a car that currently cost twice as much per mile to fuel than does the gasoline powered car it would replace. fuel cells may have their place in heavy industrial vehicles locomotives etc., but not in passenger vehicles

      • Joseph Dubeau

        But they simply aren’t, they are too expensive. nTry to keep an open minds to the facts.

  • Hydrogen will soon be the free market answer to green energy. It fits the existing infrastructure, and we can immediately remove all — 100% — of pollutants from dense urban areas.nnEvery person should be uniting to fight for the Hydrogen Economy

    • CDspeed

      Hydrogen has no existing infrastructure, going electric makes far more sense, you couldn’t even read this article if you didn’t already have access to electricity.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Who fighting? I’m sorry the Oil and Gas industry doesn’t pay me a check.

  • ” In Europe, leasing prices are not publicly available.”nSo it’s a secret? Interesting way to sell something. Well I suppose it worked for Rolls Royce, “If you have to ask what the price is, you can’t afford it”.