The European Commission selects the Hyundai ix35 fuel-cell electric vehicle to test and promote hydrogen-fuel-cell technology in a real-world environment.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking says the ix35 FCEV will be made available for members of European Parliament, commissioners, European Union officials and other policymakers to test-drive until next March.

Hyundai says in a statement the decision moves it a step closer to the commercialization of FCEVs by 2015. It says the ix35 features important innovations over previous-generation Hyundai models, including a 55% improvement in driving range and an 80% reduction in manufacturing costs.

European Parliament Member Maria da Graça Carvalho, who is on the industry committee, says vehicles such as the ix35 FCEV have great potential to help fight carbon-dioxide emissions and reduce dependence on hydrocarbons.

“I am sure my fellow members of the European Parliament will embrace the opportunity to test the viability of hydrogen technology,” she says in a statement.

Hyundai Motor Europe President Chang Kyun Han says the EU announcement complements the work the auto maker already has undertaken with other governments around Europe.

“By 2012 we hope to operate more than 30 Hyundai ix35 FCEVs across the continent,” he says.

The ix35 FCEV, based on the ix35 compact SUV, was designed and engineered in Europe.