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2012-09-27 13:41

MAKING HYDROGEN VEHICLES MAINSTREAM: It may be few years before hydrogen-powered vehicles become mainstream, especially considering current limited infrastructure, though Hyundai's ix35 Fuel Cell is a great start towards zero emission vehicle

SEOUL, South Korea - Hyundai will begin full-scale production of a hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle by the end of 2012 becoming the first automaker to begin commercial roll-out of such cars.

In December 2012 Hyundai will begin production of the ix35 Fuel Cell at its Ulsan plant in Korea, with a target of building 1000 vehicles by 2015.

Hyundai has already signed contracts with cities in Denmark and Sweden to lease the ix35 for municipal fleets.

RANGE OF 600KM


Beyond 2015, Hyundai plans limited mass production of the ix35 Fuel Cell, with a goal of 10 000 units.

Woong Chul Yang, head of Hyundai R&D, said: “The ix35 Fuel Cell is the pinnacle of Hyundai’s advanced engineering and our most powerful commitment to be the industry leader in eco-friendly mobility.

"Zero-emissions cars are no longer a dream. Our ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle is here today and ready for commercial use.”

The ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by fuel-cell stack, which converts the hydrogen into electricity, which in turn charges the lithium polymer battery that powers the vehicle’s electric motor. The only emission generated by the ix35 Fuel Cell is water vapour.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is the Korean automaker’s flagship vehicle in its Blue Drive sub-brand, the badge worn by its green-freindly vehicles, including Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and BlueOn as well as the battery-powered i10.

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS


The ix35 Fuel Cell boasts similar performance similar to that of the petrol version. The SUV can be filled with hydrogen in only a few minutes. It accelerates to 100km in 12.5sec, has a top speed of 160km/h and can travel almost 600km without refuelling.

Hydrogen fuelling stations exist in several European nations with more planned for the future. Expansion of fuelling stations is also anticipated in Korea and California.

EXTERIOR MAKEOVER

Earlier in early 2012 an ix35 Fuel Cell set a range record for hydrogen cars by driving from Oslo to Monaco using only existing fuelling stations.

Hyundai says the only difference drivers are likely to notice is the “absence of engine noise, thanks to the ix35 Fuel Cell’s whisper-quiet electric induction motor".

The exterior receives a makeover, with a new grille and other design touches to distinguish it from earlier test vehicles.

Unlike other fuel-cell vehicles that use compressed air to supply oxygen to the fuel cell stack, the ix35 Fuel Cell uses ambient air. This reduces parasitic loss in the oxygen supply, raising fuel-efficiency and reducing power consumption by 50%. For passengers, the elimination of an air compressor reduces noise inside the cabin.

In addition to the fuel-cell stack, the car uses the same lithium-polymer battery found in the Sonata Hybrid. A kinetic energy regeneration system charges the battery when the driver applies the brakes or travels downhill. The ix35 Fuel Cell is equipped with stop/start technology.

For more from the 2012 Paris auto show, click here.

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