Hyundai gears up for first mass production of fuel cell zero emission vehicles
Group 1 Hyundai is pleased to report that Hyundai is the first automaker to begin assembly line production of a fuel cell car. They have planned to produce 1,000 cars for the first run. Despite being a small number this means that they have the production lines in place to benefit from economies of scale and make an affordable hydrogen-fuelled fuel cell vehicle a reality in the foreseeable future. Following suite, Toyota will begin assembly line production at the end of this year, and Honda in 2015.
Copenhagen and California have been early adopters of Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicles, which are repurposed ix35s (called Tucson in the USA). June 2013 saw the first fleet of fuel cell Hyundai’s take to the roads of Copenhagen to support its carbon-neutral aim. The first private consumers to hire the clean-energy crossover were the Bush family in Southern California in January this year.
A realistic option for eco-conscious consumers
The cars are being leased for $499 a month (with a $2,999 deposit) for 36 months in California. Considering that this deal comes with unlimited free hydrogen and valet maintenance, it is a realistic option for many consumers in California.
The greatest challenge in order for the fuel cell car to become a mainstream option for low emission transportation is the lacking infrastructure. California, for example, has 9 fueling stations to date but plans to expand this number to 54 in the near future.
Hyundai ix35 fuel cell specs
Hyundai provides a beautifully animated advertisement promoting this vehicle as an alternative to petrol or diesel powered vehicles. Click here to watch.
At a glance, here are some of the highlights of the ix35/Tucson Fuel Cell:
The only tailpipe emission is water – that means zero carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions
It received the 2013 Price Future Auto accolade for being the first auto manufacturer to successfully begin series production 2 years ahead of competitors
The maximum range on a single tank is an adequate 594 km – taking you from Frankfurt to Berlin on a single tank for example
The car takes only 3 minutes to charge
If you converted the amount of hydrogen required to drive 1 km to gasoline or petrol, the fuel efficiency would be an incredible 27.8 kilometres per liter.
The electric motor and silencer in the fuel cell stack make for an extremely quiet ride
The green car market is a growing industry and Hyundai is positioning itself at the forefront
More detailed specs are available here.
The engineering behind the fuel cell
Those interested in the engineering behind the fuel cell module will appreciate this video provided by the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Fuel Cell Engineer Kevin Lee explains the structure of the Hyundai fuel cell power module. Click here to watch.
History of the fuel cell
Interestingly, the fuel cell is by no means a new invention – here is a quick look at the history of the fuel cell which has been used by NASA and the US navy:
The eco-conscious consumer can start to get really excited, because Hyundai is making sure that a high performance zero emission vehicle will become commonplace on the high street. Now city infrastructure just needs to catch up to provide sufficient hydrogen refueling stations.