Keen to claim its position as the first automaker to mass-produce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, South Korean automaker Hyundai is working hard to promote its Tucson hydrogen fuel cell SUV to customers in key markets around the world.
Earlier this month, that included the announcement that it would start selling the five-seat mid-sized SUV to customers in the UK for £67,995 before incentives (£53,105 after European-HyFive discounts), becoming the first automaker to sell rather than lease a hydrogen fuel cell car to customers in Europe.
Now Hyundai is trying to up its hydrogen fuel cell game in California — the only U.S. market where the Tucson FCV is currently sold — by offering what we think is some of the smallest model year revisions we’ve ever seen a car company make: the inclusion of HomeLink functionality and the choice of not one but two new exterior colors for the 2016 model year Tucson FCV.
Lease price — which includes unlimited free hydrogen refuelling and valet maintenance — remains the same at $499 per month for 36-months with $2,999 due at signing.
HomeLink functionality — which enables users to programme a special button on their rear-view mirror to operate as a remote control for their garage door opening system or to activate exterior home lighting using X10 home automation hardware — has been available for some time on regular gasoline-powered Tucson models, along with built-in digital compass functionality.
In fact, HomeLink functionality has become fairly standard across most cars today, with the majority of automakers offering it as a standard-fit item or an optional extra at point of purchase, with even fairly low-end cars coming with the feature.
Yet this year is the first time that the feature has been offered for hydrogen fuel cell customers.
Since its launch onto the market, the Hyundai Tucson FCV has only been available in one colour — a special shade called Winter White — but now Hyundai has added two other color choices for potential customers to choose: Hydro Blue and Chromium Silver. While the two new colors do at least give customers a color choice other than white, we’re not sure the extra choice will do all that much for sales levels.
For a start, ordering the Hyundai Tucson FCV isn’t as simple as heading to your local dealership. Like the 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan — the Tucson FCV’s main competitor and equally difficult to get hold of — the Tucson FCV is only available at a handful of select dealerships in California. In addition, due to its limited production, prospective customers are carefully vetted before lease offers are extended.
Those considering a car must first contact Hyundai via its main website to indicate their interest, with only Win Hyundai in Carlson, Tustin Hyundai and Hardin Hyundai in Anaheim catering to retail customers.
This will change in the coming months says Hyundai, as more areas gain the essential hydrogen refuelling infrastructure needed to support the operation of the Hyundai Tucson FCV.
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