Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cells join Paris taxi fleet during UN climate talks

Five Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossovers were delivered to Parisian taxi service STEP (Société du Taxi Electrique Parisien) this week. The Tucson is likely the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to enter taxi service on a significant scale.

Hyundai Motor America/PrNewsFoto/File
The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, seen here, became a part of the Paris taxi fleet to mark the COP21 UN climate talks.

Hyundai used the ongoing COP21 Paris climate-change talks as a backdrop to unveil a handful of hydrogen fuel-cell taxis.

Five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell crossovers were delivered to Parisian taxi service STEP (Société du Taxi Electrique Parisien) this week.

The model--known as the Tucson Fuel Cell in the U.S.--is likely the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to enter taxi service on a significant scale.

Hyundai claims the STEP vehicles compromise the world's largest fuel-cell taxi fleet, but with just five vehicles in service, it's unclear how significant a statement that makes.

The carmaker also says the fleet--dubbed "hype" (Hydrogen Powered Electric)--will increase to "several hundred vehicles" within five years.

The delivery of the five vehicles coincided with the opening of the first hydrogen fueling station in Paris; Hyundai says more will be installed throughout 2016.

Hyundai will also open a dealership specializing in fuel-cell vehicles to service the taxi fleet.

It hopes operating fuel-cell vehicles in taxi service will help demonstrate their usability and reliability.

They'll also join a sizable contingent of green taxis operating around the world.

Nissan just announced that over 500 of its electric cars--including both the Leaf and e-NV200 van--are in taxi service in Europe.

Other electric cars are doing taxi stints as well, along with the millions of hybrid cabs that have become a familiar sight on streets over the past decade.

Hyundai says the Paris taxi delivery brings the number of ix35 Fuel Cell crossovers on European roads past the 250-unit mark.

In addition, about 100 Tucson Fuel Cell models have been delivered in Southern California since the crossover's launch there in June 2014, according to the carmaker.

But now the Hyundai will share the fuel-cell segment with dedicated vehicles not converted from existing models.

The first 2016 Toyota Mirai sedans were delivered to California customers in October, and the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell will follow late next year.

It remains to be seen whether either of those models will be drafted into taxi service.

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