RECORD BREAKER: Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell breaks the hydrogen SUV land speed record in California. Not much competition out there, but it's a win nonetheless.
RECORD BREAKER: Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell breaks the hydrogen SUV land speed record in California. Not much competition out there, but it's a win nonetheless.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell's hydrogen achievements

NOW we've all come to accept hybrid and fully electric vehicles as the future of motoring, we mustn't forget that other alternative fuel source, hydrogen.

Showing Hyundai is making admirable strides with the technology, its ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle has been keeping busy this December.

The company delivered the world's largest fuel cell taxi fleet to a company in Paris, and across the Atlantic a Fuel Cell broke the land speed record for a production hydrogen-powered SUV. Okay, so there's hardly much competition in this field, but it's a nice thing to have on the ix35's resume regardless.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle, and to coincide with the opening of the first hydrogen refuelling station in Paris (and the UN Climate Change Conference held in the French capital), taxi start-up company STEP took delivery of five ix35 Fuel Cells. This makes it the world's largest fuel cell taxi fleet - again showing there ain't much competition out there - but is apparently "the first step in establishing a hydrogen-powered electric taxi fleet called 'hype' (Hydrogen Powered Electric), serving the Greater Paris area".

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell taxi fleet in Paris. Photo: Contributed
Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell taxi fleet in Paris. Photo: Contributed

The fleet is planned to increase up to several hundred vehicles within five years, with the refuelling infrastructure to be gradually installed in 2016, to meet the increasing demand for hydrogen.

Hyundai said compared to a diesel- powered taxi with CO2 emissions of 135g/km and an annual mileage of 100,000 kilometres, the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles will save around 70 tonnes of CO2 per year in exhaust emissions. The only emissions from the tailpipe of the ix35 Fuel Cell during driving are water vapour.

Europe now has more than 250 ix35 Fuel Cell cars on its roads (Australia has only one left-hand-drive example by the way), and Southern California alone has nearly 100. And the Californians love taking anything for a spot of racing.

So an ix35 Fuel Cell was introduced to the Soggy Dry Lake Bed in the California desert, and scored that hydrogen-powered SUV land speed record of 152kmh. Hyundai also pointed out the SUV was able to easily traverse the off-road terrain of the surrounding desert environs thanks to its ground clearance. The same couldn't be said for more traditional land speed record cars.

And as well as Europe showing up Australia's lack of hydrogen car infrastructure, Southern California's is rapidly growing, with nearly 50 hydrogen refuelling stations forecast for the region by next year.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell land speed record. Photo: Contributed
Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell land speed record. Photo: Contributed


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