Hyundai's fuel-cell future

2013-03-01 07:25

ULSAN, South Korea - Hyundai has become the world’s first automaker to begin mass production of zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles with its ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle.

The first ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle to roll off the assembly line will be displayed at the 2013 Geneva auto show.

 Hyundai vice-chairman Eok Jo Kim said: “With the ix35 Fuel Cell Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future.  This ix35 is the most eco-friendly vehicle in the auto industry and proves that hydrogen fuel-cell technology in daily driving is no longer a dream.”

The company plans an initial build of 1000 fuel-cell cars.


The ix35 Fuel Cell will be one of 17 destined for fleet customers in Copenhagen in Denmark and Skane in Sweden. Copenhagen, as part of an initiative to be carbon-free by 2025, will get 15 ix35 Fuel Cell units for fleet use. Two will be supplied to Skane.

Mang Woo Park, mayor of Ulsan city, said: "Assembly-line production of fuel-cell vehicles is a crucial milestone in the history of the automobile industry throughout the world. By supplying more hydrogen fuelling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel-cell vehicles we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles."

Hyundai plans to build 1000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles by 2015 to be sold primarily in Europe, where the European Union has established a hydrogen road map and initiated construction of hydrogen fueling stations.

The strategy of leading automakers in Europe and the USA is to supply hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and establish refuelling stations in order to prepare the market for mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Hyundai hopes that by 2015 it will have lower vehicle production costs and further developed its hydrogen infrastructure.

A fuel-cell stack converts the hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor. The only by-product is water but the car has performance similar to that of the petrol-powered ix35.


The ix35 Fuel Cell can be refuelled with in only a few minutes. It accelerates to 100km/h in 12.5 seconds, has a top speed of 160km/h and can travel fora bout 600km a single hydrogen fill.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is the flagship vehicle in Hyundai’s Blue Drive sub-brand, the badge worn by Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and BlueOn as well as the battery-powered i10.

As governments around the world step up regulations to reduce carbon output and fossil fuel dependency, Hyundai says, zero-emissions mobility solutions such as Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell will become a driving force of change. The ix35 Fuel Cell aligns with the 2009 agreement by the European Union’s G8 countries to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and California’s Zero Emission Vehicle regulations.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is the result of 14 years and several hundred million euros of research by hundreds of engineers at Hyundai’s fuel cell R&D center in Mabuk, Korea. The car has logged more than two million km of road tests in real-world conditions in Europe, Korea and the US.

  • jango.za - 2013-03-01 08:36

    This is a FAR more serious development than idiotic battery technology.

  • Patrick Jimu - 2013-03-01 11:29

    How will the hydrogen for these vehicles be produced? Is it not a case of generating more Carbon emissions in the hydrogen generation process in order to just appear "clean" on the road but we polluting elsewhere

  • alan.jerrold - 2013-03-01 11:55

    Hydrogen is serious stuff. The Hindenburg Zeppelin exploded and went down in flames because it was filled with hydrogen. To remain liquid, hydrogen has to be stored in specially insulated containers at minus 253 degrees Centigrade (not easy to do, and even then it leaks at about 1% per day. It aslo has a low energy density compared to petrol. And unless non-polluting methods are used to create it, it doesn't lessen overall emissions. Don't think we are going to see many hydrogen filling stations in SA anytime soon. Imagine our average pump jockey filling your tank with something as potentially explosive as TNT (fact!).

  • Raven Jimmy - 2013-03-02 19:27

    until i see it at the nearest dealer. Its just a political and inustrial play card.the politicians are too corrupt. Money needs to be made from the likes of SASOL, BP etc.

  • Love Ness - 2013-03-04 13:16

    OPEC will not be happy with this!

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