Kia is gunning to become the world's leading producer of fuel cell vehicles and says it will have 10,000 on the road by 2015.
It plans to sell between 1000 and 2000 a year between now and 2012, although initially cars will be offered only to government bodies and research institutions.
Currently the company's fuel cell powers a 4x4 called the Borrego or Mohave, depending on market, but the platform underneath could be turned to other large applications, such as an MPV.
The fuel cell stack delivers electricity to an electric motor through a super-capacitor, not a battery, for quicker response.
It can accelerate the car from 0-62mph in 12 seconds, cruise at up to 106mph and cover as much as 375 miles on one tank of hydrogen. Kia calculates that on a well-to-wheel basis, which includes the energy required to produce and deliver the hydrogen, the Borrego is 42% efficient compared with 26% for a hybrid.
Kia is counting on the car having a 10-year life expectancy and says it has already reduced the component cost of the car by 95%.
All that's needed now is a refuelling infrastructure and a firm on-sale date for the general public.
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