What a few years of research and development made with the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai's answer to Californias clean air mandate for zero emission vehicles. This little SUV fits the bill as its only emission is water vapor out the tail pipe. WATER.
Last time I sat in and drove this it was on concept stage. It was road ready and driveable and the sheer ability at the time amazed me. Imagine, nothing more than air and stored hydrogen passing through a fuel cell making electricity to power you down the road. The down side to that concept is that every cycle of a compressor, fan or relay you heard. Not unpleasant, just unusual.
Flash forward to the production version. Gone area all the rumbles, whirs and whines. DEAD SILENT like a plug in electric car. According to the rep driving* she has a traditional gasser version of the car and this drives the same. Same get up and go, same able handling, nothing to tip you off that you are driving a green car. In our short ride around the Los Angeles Convention center there was nothing to tip you off that this was a green car other than the sheer quiet inside the cabin.
Hydrogen infrastructure is still in its infancy and therefore your ability to travel great distances is limited. Range anxiety however in daily use isn't a problem as the car fills fast (3-5 minutes) and has a range up to 265 miles per tank.
You can learn about Hyundai's fuel cell on their WEB PAGE. The upshot is its available in limited areas in California right now. Its lease only at $499/mo.
Pics by me and more from the L.A Auto Show in my flickr album.
*Hyundai now requires you to be an approved member of their fleet reviewers hence the ride along and not me driving.