Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell hydrogen car (c) Hyundai

Friday Focus: Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell technology

Fuel cell technology is taking off with the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell – the alternative method of propulsion is garnering a lot of interest in the industry, and just like fully electric cars are attempting to solve the pollution problem from burning hydrocarbons, Hyundai’s hydrogen powered vehicles are hoping to revolutionise personal transport.

It’s amazingly clever technology, too, and totally emissions free at the tailpipe. That’s why as part of our Friday Focus series, we’re taking an in-depth look at the technology behind this futuristic Hyundai of tomorrow, today.

The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is the world’s first ever hydrogen production vehicle, and the first car of its type to hit the UK, with deliveries of the popular, alternatively propelled crossover helping to expand London’s Hydrogen Network Expansion project.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell (c) Hyundai

So how do hydrogen fuel cells work and are they viable in the real world?

First off, in the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, the car’s fuel tanks are filed with hydrogen gas. This can be created artificially using a scientific process to capture the gas naturally given off by algae.

That means just like a petrol or diesel car, as long as the infrastructure supports it, hydrogen cars are superbly easy and quick to refuel. Unlike some electric vehicles, for example, it truly is a ‘no compromise’ green car.

Once fuelled, the hydrogen gas in the combined 144 litre fuel tanks is pumped into the fuel cell. This is basically a chamber for a chemical reaction to occur, with a positively charged ‘cathode’ and a negatively charged ‘anode’.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell hydrogen propulsion car (c) Hyundai

The hydrogen gas is mixed with oxygen, which causes the two substances to bond. However, a special membrane does not allow the two gasses electrons (the tiny particles that give an electric current in a circuit) to pass through.

This means the electricity can be harvested and sent to a motor to drive the wheels, while the only waste product from the tailpipe is H2O, or pure water, making the whole process incredibly green.

It’s also very safe. As hydrogen gas is lighter than air, refuelling takes place at high pressure to ensure the necessary amount is pumped into the tanks – but with some simple and easy controls put in place, it’s as safe as filling your car up with petrol and diesel.

And it’s properly viable, too. With 144 litres of hydrogen gas on board, the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell has a range of 369 miles, can be driven at up to 100mph, and thanks to its 134hp electric motor, will accelerate from 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds. It offers all the real world performance you’ll ever need, with significantly reduced fuel costs and zero CO2 emissions.

Compare this to the Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDI’s figures – 108mph top speed and 0-62mph in 12.4 seconds – and the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell Hydrogen (c) Hyundai

Well the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is actually going into production, with deliveries of the first 1,000 vehicles scheduled for leasing companies and private fleet users in the English capital as part of the city’s grand plans for reducing emissions through hydrogen fuel.

This is the future, now. So why not let us know what you think of hydrogen technology and the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell?

Do you like the thought of zero CO2 emissions without impinging on practicality and ease of use? Why not let us know on twitter @twwhiteandsons, or eave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.