You can now buy a zero-emission hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 for £53,105 – the first of its kind to be launched in the UK.
That price includes a saving of nearly £15,000 thanks to part-funding from the HyFive project – a consortium of five car manufacturers, fuel suppliers and energy consultancies that seeks to increase the use of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) across Europe.
The ix35 FCEV has already been sold to selected partners around the world since 2013, but now UK customers can order the car directly from Hyundai.
Previously, the manufacturer has said it hopes to sell up to 10,000 hydrogen-powered ix35s per year. But does it make sense as an alternative to a conventional petrol or diesel car?
How does the hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell work?
Like combustion-engined cars, you need to ‘fill up’ the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell. But rather than paying for costly diesel or petrol, you buy cheaper hydrogen.
This hydrogen then reacts with air to produce electricity, which powers an electric motor that runs the car. Although we’re yet to drive the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, it’s likely to provide a relaxed, quiet driving experience, similar to a typical electric car, such as the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3. The only by-product of this reaction is water, which is much less harmful than CO2 or NOx gases.
But, thanks to its pair of hydrogen tanks providing a total capacity of 5.64kg, the ix35 Fuel Cell has a range of 369 miles – nearly three times that of a Nissan Leaf.
Where can I fill up a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell?
The issue with hydrogen-powered cars is the ‘chicken and egg’ situation over refuelling stations.
Currently, there are very few places where you can fuel your hydrogen car – and this is unlikely to change until more people buy FCEVs. But people will be cautious about buying them until there are more places they can fill them up.
Hyundai is dealing with this through the HyFive project, which will provide a total of five hydrogen refuelling stations in the London area by the end of 2015.
With sales of electric vehicles increasing over recent years as more electric charging points are installed across the UK, will more hydrogen cars follow?