Our talented spy photographer recently managed to snap some pictures of what looks to be a typical Hyundai Tucson-based test mule. But according to the information provided, it is anything but typical. Instead, the test mule seen in our gallery is described to be a prototype for Hyundai’s next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle, or FCEV.

The Korean automaker is in the early stages of developing a new FCEV to succeed the current model. In several of the photos, a Toyota Mirai FCV can be seen shadowing the prototype in the pictures, indicating its use as a benchmark.

Specifics for the next car are scant. Speculation suggests we should expect an evolved version of the current FCEV’s powertrain. With the anticipation of advances in technology, more power wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect, either.

Stylistically, despite being based on the current Tucson, the production variant will more closely resemble the Hyundai Intrado Concept. That concept car was first introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

The Tucson FCEV is scheduled to launch at the 2018 Winter Olympics, while meeting stricter California Air Resources Board regulations. This ultimately means it can be sold in more states.

Today, Hyundai’s fuel-cell electric vehicle offering consists of a similar Tucson-based crossover and is only available through three select California-based Hyundai dealers. It is powered by a 295-kilowatt-hour battery pack co-developed by Hyundai and LG.

Output is rated at 80-kilowatts, or the equivalent of 134 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The resulting performance is a 0-62-miles-per-hour time of 12.5 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph. In optimal conditions, the present day FCEV can travel up to 265 miles on a full tank of compressed liquid hydrogen.

Gallery: 2016 Hyundai Tucson FCEV / ix35 FCEV Test Mule Spy Shots

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