introduces the first production version of its ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, which will make an appearance at the Geneva auto show next week.
The ix35 uses’s C-segment Tucson SUV body, and Hyundai Vice President Frank Ahrens says it marks the first production model of a zero-emissions hydrogen-powered vehicle anywhere in the world.
also produces a low-volume fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX Clarity.
The initial 1,000 units manufactured at Hyundai’s Plant 5 in Ulsan, Korea, will be available for lease only. Retail sales will begin sometime in 2015, he says.
“Right now, the ix35 Fuel Cell is headed to Europe, where the European Union has a roadmap and budget for hydrogen,” Ahrens tells WardsAuto. “We expect deployment in Korea and the U.S. at some point in the future.”
Hyundai has put more than 2 million combined miles (3.2 million km) on test units driven in Korea, the U.S. and Europe, he adds.
Ahrens says no price point has been set yet for the ix35 because the vehicles are for lease only. “It is the hope of every OEM to get the sales price (of a fuel-cell vehicle) down to about $50,000 over the next couple of years.”
A new radiator grille, bumper, fog lamps and 7-in. (17.8- cm) navigation screen were developed exclusively for the ix35, enhancing its marketability and distinguishing it from the Tucson,Hyundai says in a statement.
Modular fuel-cell components used in the propulsion system, including the fuel-cell stack, driving device and inverter, enabled the engine to be downsized to match a gasoline engine. Modularity of the fuel-cell system also enhances productivity and maintenance procedures.
“With the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future,” Hyundai Vice Chairman Kim Eok Jo says at the rollout ceremony. “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.”
Adds Ulsan Mayor Park Mang Woo, “By supplying more hydrogen refueling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel-cell vehicles produced here, we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles,”
The first 17 production ix35 Fuel Cell SUVs will be shipped to fleet customers in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Skane, Sweden. The ix35 also is one of 15 vehicles earmarked for the Municipality of Copenhagen as part of an agreement announced last September.
The ix35 propulsion system generates 100 kW (134 hp). The proprietary Hyundai system includes a modular stack that converts hydrogen to electricity to power the vehicle’s motor. Performance is similar to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle, Hyundai says.
The ix35 Fuel Cell can be refueled with hydrogen in a few minutes, Hyundai says. It accelerates from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 12.5 seconds, with a top speed of 99.4 mph (160 km/h). A single hydrogen charge gives it a driving range of 370 miles (594 km).