Hyundai ix35 FCEV review

* Hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain * Prototype vehicle * Production version in 2015...

09 September 2011

Hyundai ix35 FCEV review

What is it? A prototype version of the Hyundai ix-35, powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The ix35 FCEV is powered by a 134bhp electric motor, which gets its charge from hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen is pumped in through a converted filler cap and stored in a tank under the boot floor. The only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

Whats it like to drive? We drove a prototype car, for two laps of the 800-metre track at the Ecovelocity event in London.

We got up to 30mph, and the experience was enough to suggest that the FCEV is just like any other ix35 to drive. Simply turn the key, select drive and away you go.

The cars 134bhp gives it sprightly acceleration. Hyundai quotes a 0-62mph time of 12.8 seconds and a top speed of 100mph.

As with the diesel and petrol-powered ix35s the ride is firm, but the FCEVs powertrain is quieter than either of the other cars.

Hyundai quotes a range of 360 miles, four times as much as most conventional electric vehicles.

Should I buy one?
You cant, yet. The ix35 FCEV is part of a trial programme of prototype vehicles, undergoing continual development. The production version - due in 2015 might not even look like this: it could be based on the ix35s replacement.

Currently, Hyundai is aiming for a price of around $50,000 (roughly 31,000) for US models. Right-hand drive production and UK availability - hasnt been confirmed.