Production of the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell hydrogen vehicle has begun at the company’s manufacturing plant in Korea.
The first complete hydrogen-powered car rolled off the production line at the end of February, and with the limited run of 1,000 units, Hyundai has become the first carmaker in the world to commence commercial manufacturing of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
The relatively small number of cars will be built between now and 2015, with another 10,000 units scheduled after the initial run of vehicles.
The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell builds on previous hydrogen-powered prototypes from Hyundai, including the Santa Fe FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) in 2000 and the 2005 Tuscon FCEV.
This car furthers the technology showcased in previous concepts, in a mass-produced road-going vehicle.
The Hyundai ix35 FCEV is equipped with a 136hp electric motor, which gives a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds and allows a top speed of 99mph.
That’s more than enough for daily driving and actually makes the alternatively powered ix35 the second most powerful vehicle in the range, behind the 181hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel model.
What’s more, thanks to its twin hydrogen storage tanks, the ix35 Fuel Cell has a maximum range of 369 miles on a single fill-up.
The fuel cell uses a chemical reaction to convert hydrogen gas into electricity, charging a battery, which in turn spins the electric motor. The car is superbly clean as a result, emitting only pure water as a waste product.
Practicality is still strong too, with luggage space ranging from 465 litres to 1,436 litres with the rear seats folded.
Benefiting from the same great technology and interior features as the regular Hyundai ix35 crossover – as well as improved levels of refinement due to the near silent electric motor – it should be as easy to live with as the normal car.
The vehicle has been influential in building relationships with environmental groups, too.
It was the star attraction at the EcoIsalnds Global Summit for sustainability on the Isle of Wight last year, and symbolised the striking of an agreement to enable islands and regions across the globe to hit renewable energy self-sufficiency by 2020.