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Hyundai Oz eyes fuel cell ix35 for demo

H2 oh: Officials welcome the first hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell at the Ulsan plant in South Korea.

World-first production fuel cell vehicle in Hyundai Australia’s sights for event

Hyundai logo27 Feb 2013

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia hopes to hear within months if it can get its hands on one of the South Korean company’s pioneering ix35 Fuel Cell SUVs – the world’s first production line-assembled hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle.

HMCA public relations general manager Bill Thomas today told GoAuto the Australian subsidiary was in talks with its head office about the possibility of shipping at least one of the cars to Australia.

“We’ve been talking to HMC (Hyundai Motor Corporation) about the vehicle, but there’s nothing further to talk about at this stage,” he said.

“Interesting car. We’d love to have one here, and we hope to progress things further over the next few months.”

A potential event to showcase the ix35 Fuel Cell could be the Australian International Motor Show in June.

Hyundai today turned the key on assembly line production of the fuel-cell version of its ix35 compact SUV, saying it plans to produce a run of 1000 between now and 2015 at its plant in Ulsan.

The white-painted debutante is bound for Denmark where it will be the first of 15 such Hyundai cars on the Copenhagen city fleet in the municipality’s quest to become carbon-neutral by 2025.

Two other hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric vehicles from the initial batch will be shipped to the Swedish city of Skane under a similar deal.

Hyundai says the ix35 Fuel Cell can cover up to 594km on a full tank of hydrogen which is processed by the fuel cells to produce up to 100kW of electricity while emitting only water vapour from the tailpipe.

The vehicle can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 12.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 160km/h.

Hyundai says the ix35 Fuel Cell is the result of 14 years of research by hundreds of engineers Hyundai’s fuel cell R&D centre in Korea, along with more than three million kilometres of road testing in Europe, Korea and the United States.

Most of the 1000 fuel-cell vehicles will be leased to fleets in Europe where the European Union has started construction of hydrogen refueling stations.

Beyond 2015, Hyundai plans to extend sales of fuel-cell vehicles to private buyers when, it hopes, hydrogen is more freely available and production costs are more affordable.

Hyundai said the modular fuel cell design had enabled the fuel cell stack and drivetrain to be downsized to similar dimensions as the standard petrol engine.

It said the system also improves productivity and makes maintenance more convenient.

The ix35 Fuel Cell gets a new grille, bumper and fog lamps, along with sat-nav and other features.

Hyundai Motor vice chairman Eok Jo Kim said Hyundai was leading the way into the zero-emissions future with the ix35 Fuel Cell.

“The ix35 Fuel Cell 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,” he said.

Under Europe’s fuel-cell car proposals, up to 35 per cent of all vehicles will be fuelled by hydrogen by 2040.

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