A white Hyundai Motor Co. ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the company’s Ulsan manufacturing complex today, as Hyundai became the world’s first automaker to begin assembly-line production of zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles for fleet use.
The ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, based on Hyundai’s popular ix35, C-segment SUV (Tucson in some markets), exited the assembly line at Hyundai Motor’s Plant No. 5 during a launch event attended by Hyundai top management and VIPs.
“With the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future,” Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman, Eok Jo Kim said at the ceremony today. “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.”
The ix35 Fuel Cell unveiled at the ceremony will be one of 17 destined for fleet customers in City of Copenhagen, Denmark and Skåne, Sweden. The Municipality of Copenhagen, as part of its initiative to be carbon-free by 2025, will be supplied with 15 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles for fleet use, according to an agreement that was announced in September 2012. Two ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles will be supplied to Skåne, Sweden.
“Assembly-line production of fuel cell vehicle marks a crucial milestone in the history of the automobile industry not just in Korea, but throughout the world,” Mang Woo Park, mayor of Ulsan city, said in his congratulatory message. “By supplying more hydrogen refueling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles produced, we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles.”
Hyundai plans to build 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles by 2015 for lease to public and private fleets, 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 U.S. is to supply hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and establish refueling stations in order to prepare the market for mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
After 2015, with lowered vehicle production costs and further developed hydrogen infrastructure, Hyundai will begin manufacturing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for consumer retail sales.
Built with proprietary technology, Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by hydrogen. A fuel cell stack converts the hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor. The only emission generated by the ix35 Fuel Cell is water. Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell boasts drivability and performance similar to that of the petrol ix35.
The development and application of a new radiator grille, bumper, fog lamps, super vision cluster and 7-inch GPS exclusively for the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles enhances the ix35 Fuel Cell’s marketability. Furthermore, modularization of fuel cell systems for the core part of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle -- fuel cell stack, driving device and inverter -- enabled the engine to be downsized to match the size of a gasoline engine while improving productivity and making maintenance more convenient.
In January 2013, the ix35 Fuel Cell won the prestigious FuturAuto award at the Brussels Motor Show, celebrating its technical innovation.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is the halo vehicle in Hyundai’s Blue Drive sub-brand, the badge worn by Hyundai’s cleanest vehicles, including Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and BlueOn, Hyundai’s battery-powered i10.
As governments around the world step up regulations to reduce carbon output and fossil fuel dependency, 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 percent by 2050 and California’s Zero Emission Vehicle regulations.
The ix35 Fuel Cell can be refueled with hydrogen in only a few minutes. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/hr in 12.5 seconds, has a top speed of 160 km/hr and can travel 594 kilometers with a single charge.
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 2 million miles of road tests in real-world conditions in Europe, Korea and the U.S.
The first ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle rolled off the assembly line will be displayed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.