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Peter Anderson | Sep 28, 2012

Hyundai has debuted the hydrogen-fuelled version of its ix35 small SUV, moving the advanced vehicle from concept to production.

The carmaker has claimed its ix35 Fuell Cell as the world's first series-production hydrogen car, although just 1000 cars will be built between now and 2015. Beyond that, a full 10,000 units are planned.

Driving the ix35 Fuell Cell is an electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack, which itself is fuelled by the hydrogen fuell cell that converts its stores into electricity.

This allows owners to 'fill up' in a matter of moments at a capable service station, rather than plugging their vehicle in and waiting for a charge.

Hyundai promises a 0-100km/h time of 12.5 seconds, with a top speed of 162km/h.

Hyundai claims a driving range of 588km, which is probably just as well given the relative paucity of hydrogen filling stations. However, Hyundai is working with European governments to speed the construction of hydrogen stations.

2014 hyundai ix35 fuel cell 04

The range is also aided by a stop-start system for the fuel cell, shutting it down and relying only on the battery for power for short periods.

Hyundai says it has already locked in a lease agreement with the city of Copenhagen, where 15 ix35 Fuel Cell cars will be used by various government offices.

A hydrogen fuel cell car has two main benefits: the first is that its only output is water vapour and a little bit of heat. The second is that the user experience is mostly unchanged, with the re-fuelling experience similar to conventional vehicles.

The ix35 Fuel Cell will be marketed under the Hyundai Blue Drive brand, which also includes the Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and the battery-powered i10 BlueOn.

"The ix35 Fuel Cell is the pinnacle of Hyundai's advanced engineering and our most powerful commitment to be the industry leader in eco-friendly mobility," Vice Chairman Woong Chul Yang, head of Hyundai R&D said. "Zero-emissions cars are no longer a dream.

Our ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle is here today, and ready for commercial use."

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