Hyundai to launch hydrogen-powered SUV next year

South Korean automaker Hyundai has announced its plans to launch a hydrogen-powered vehicle next year.

Hyundai aims to roll out its sports utility vehicle (SUV) dubbed Tucson, which will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, in the United States sometime in 2014. It is going to be the first mass-market hydrogen-powered vehicle to be sold or leased in the country.

John Krafcik, chief executive officer at Hyundai North America, recently said, "These things [hydrogen-powered vehicles] are now ready for prime time."

The automaker is widely expected to reveal details of the new Tucson at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday this week.

Hyundai is not the only auto manufacturer that is trying its hands on hydrogen-powered vehicles. Honda, Toyota and General Motors are among the many other manufacturers which have long been dabbling in vehicles powered by hydrogen.

Former U. S. President George W. Bush had granted $1.2 billion to boost research and development of hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of his administration's efforts to make roads pollution-free. But that program was scrapped by the Obama administration, which hinged its hopes on battery-powered cars.

Now, as leading automakers appear to have conquered impediments like safety concerns, lack of filling stations and higher costs; hydrogen-powered vehicles are expected to become ubiquitous very soon.