On June 10, 2014 I had attended the Hyundai of Tustin, California event where the first USA lessee Tim Bush (pictured above) was handed the keys to a Tucson FCEV. So, I thought it would be interesting to speak with Mr. Bush a little over a year later to see how the lease experience of the Hyundai Tucson FCEV is going for him and his family.
HydroKevin (HK): What has been the most pleasant surprise in leasing and driving a Hyundai Tucson FCEV for the past year?
Tim Bush (TB): The best part is probably the carpool sticker. No, really, it has a smooth, quiet ride and it’s been a really awesome experience.
HK: What has been your biggest negative surprise in leasing this vehicle?
TB: The biggest negative is the bureaucracy behind the infrastructure. The Fountain Valley, Newport Beach and UCI (University of California, Irvine) stations were all shut down for a week. The UCI station was supposed to get an upgrade but instead they took it offline for a while. Hyundai has a Facebook page just for the FCEV owners and a lot of people are frustrated with this. But, people do have to realize that with any new technology there will be bumps. I’ve been lucky that except for that one week vacation, I have been able to find fuel at one of the nearby stations.
HK: Once your lease is up, what are your plans for your next car?
TB: I don’t know. I have another 2 years on my lease. The deal I’m getting is really good. With my last car I was paying $500 per month plus fuel on top of that. With the Hyundai the fuel is free until the end of the lease.
HK: Would you consider buying or leasing a Toyota Mirai?
TB: It looks really good. But actually my family needs an SUV right now and we’re happy with the Hyundai.
HK: Being a State Farm Insurance Agent, perhaps you can tell me what is special about the fuel cell vehicle insurance policy compared to, say any other gasoline-powered SUV?
TB: From the point of view of an insurance agent, State Farm is ahead of the curve. The collision and liability coverage is the same. The thing is that the car has to be in the system. Right now the Hyundai is in the system and the Toyota Mirai is not, yet.
HK: Have you had any service performed on your fuel cell vehicle?
TB: Yes, every 5,000 to 6,000 miles the Hyundai people come to take the car away for service and they drop off a loaner. I’m not sure what they do to it. There’s no oil to change. I’m not much of a car guy, but Hyundai has treated me really well.
Photo Credit: State Farm Insurance