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Hyundai is set to become the world's first manufacturer of series production hydrogen fuel cell powered cars. As part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LNHE) project, five Hyundai ix35 based H2 fuel cell vehicles will be deployed initially. The numbers will gradually be increased.
The LNHE project is a government funded project aimed at supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles. The project has been setup to provide funding, introducing fuel cell powered vehicles for business uses or as public transport and to set up support infrastructure in the form of hydrogen fuel refueling stations.
Hyundai calls these ix35 SUV based hydrogen fuel cell vehicle series production because they come out of the same production line as the petrol ix35 SUVs. This means at any point in time production can be increased based on demand without the need for setting additional infrastructure.
What is now a pilot project involving just five cars will increase to 1000 units in 2015. Initially though, these will be leased out to interested private players such as taxi or car rental services providers.
Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell SUVs offer a range of about 400 miles, the same as petrol cars, but the only byproduct which comes out of the exhausts is water vapour. Top speed is a decent 100 mph. While 0-100km/h time of 12.5seconds is not the most impressive it is good enough for city use.
The only impediment in the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the lack of refilling stations. At present there is only one H2 fuel station in UK. But this is set to increase to 300 by 2015 and more than 1000 by 2025.
Besides being clean hydrogen fuel cell cars can be refueled like a conventional vehicle in about 3 minutes, unlike electric cars which take hours. Hydrogen is also the world's most abundant fuel.