Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Sets Land Speed Record

Not as fast as you would think.

As hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles become more commonplace, manufacturers are coming up with more records to break. Now, a Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell has set the world land speed record for mass-produced fuel-cell vehicles, cracking 94 mph.

The Tucson Fuel Cell is certainly not the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on the market, but it is the most recent vehicle to claim the speed record. The hydrogen-fueled powertrain works by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell containing catalyzing materials. The resulting chemical reaction produces water, heat, and a small amount of electricity.

This power source sends the electric energy to a motor powering the front wheels of the Tucson. A full tank of hydrogen provides a total range of around 265 miles. Hyundai says there are nearly 50 fuel stations in the U.S. outfitted with hydrogen pumps for refueling.

In the Hyundai Tucson, that motor makes 134 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, which helped hustle the little hydrogen-powered crossover up to a record-breaking top speed of 94.6 mph on the strangely-named Soggy Dry Lake Bed in California. While the current land speed record for a non-production fuel-cell vehicle stands at 286 mph, and the record for a production-style hydrogen vehicle is 207 mph, the Tucson is the fastest mass-produced vehicle. Hyundai says it already has nearly 100 fuel-cell Tucsons on the road around California.