If you think the prospect of hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars is still decades away, think again. Hyundai has just launched the world’s first mass production fuel cell electric vehicle in the form of the zero-emission ix35 Fuel Cell – yours to order now direct from Hyundai for £53,105.
Based on the ordinary ix35 crossover, Hyundai has ditched the standard car’s petrol and diesel motors and filled the resulting space under the bonnet with a range of fuel cell and electric wizardry. Unlike typical electric cars, which require lengthy recharging sessions, fuel cell electric vehicles offer a similar top up process to conventional cars, with drivers simply refilling the car with hydrogen instead of petrol or diesel.
Kitted out with a 134bhp electric motor, the ix35 Fuel Cell – Hyundai’s fourth generation hydrogen-powered vehicle – can reach speeds of up to 100mph and cover up to 369 miles between refills – around three times the distance that Kia’s Soul EV can travel between charges. The ix35 Fuel Cell will set buyers back just over £53,000, after £14,880 of funding from the European HyFive project, which has been set up to encourage uptake of fuel cell-powered cars.
Just as the lack of electric charging points has put many motorists off electric cars over the past few years, the current lack of hydrogen filling stations is likely to be a big limitation for potential buyers. In an attempt to begin to address this the HyFive project will also see new hydrogen refuelling stations set up around London, with five stations set to be open by the end of 2015.