Hyundai has celebrated the completion of the world's first mass produced fuel cell production car at a ceremony in Korea.
Hyundai rolled the white zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell off the assembly line at the company’s Ulsan manufacturing plant, making it the world’s first car maker to launch a mass produced fuel cell vehicle.
To be used as fleet cars across Europe, the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell sees a 100kW fuel cell stack convert hydrogen into electricity, which then turns the vehicle’s electric motor, leaving water as the only emission generated by the vehicle. Hyundai says the hydrogen-fuelled ix35 can be topped up with the gas in only a few minutes, will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 12.5 seconds, has a top speed of 160km/h and a range of 594km from a single tank.
Hyundai Motor Co. vice chairman Eok Jo Kim said Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future.
“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.”
Of the initial fleet of 17 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles bound for fleet customers, 15 will be employed by the City of Copenhagen in Denmark – as part of its initiative to be carbon-free by 2025 – while Skane, Sweden, will receive two vehicles.
Ulsan city mayor Mang Woo Park said the assembly line production of fuel cell vehicles marked a crucial milestone in the history of the automotive industry not just in Korea but throughout the world.
“By supplying more hydrogen refuelling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles produced, we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles.”
Hyundai plans to build 1000 ix35 Fuel Cell SUVs for lease to public and private fleets, primarily in Europe, by 2015 with the model being the flagship vehicle in Hyundai’s eco-friendly Blue Drive sub-brand that also features the Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and i10-based BlueOn.
Hyundai says it will begin manufacturing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for retail consumers after 2015, once lower vehicle production costs and further hydrogen infrastructure are developed.
The very first production Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell will be on display at the 2013 Geneva motor show which starts on March 5.