Hyundai launches hydrogen-powered ix35 in Australia
PLUG-IN hybrids may be the flavour of the alternative fuel movement for car manufacturers, but Hyundai has different ideas.
Today will mark the opening of Australia's only hydrogen vehicle refuelling station at Hyundai's head office in Sydney.
It will power the ix35 Fuel Cell, the only car Down Under that runs on hydrogen, burns no fuel and emits nothing but water vapour from its exhaust.
There is no sound at start-up, only a Jetsons-like whirl once you jump on the accelerator.
The power is linear, much like that of a traditional four-cylinder petrol car.
Power of 100 kilowatts and 300 Newton metres is always at the ready, and Hyundai claims it can accelerate up to 160kmh and has a range of about 600km. Refuelling time is similar to that of a normal petrol-powered car.
"We believe this fantastic car will help demonstrate the potential of hydrogen as a green transport solution for Australia," Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief executive officer Charlie Kim said.
"HMCA's Fuel Cell Team has visited Canberra on a number of occasions over the last two years to brief federal ministers about our hydrogen car. The reaction has been very positive."
"We are taking a bold step into the future and we hope other Australians become as inspired and excited by this technology as we are," Mr Kim said.
"In February 2013, Hyundai Motor Company became the first automobile manufacturer in the world to begin mass-production of a hydrogen-powered vehicle - the ix35 Fuel Cell. The fact that we have brought one to Australia is testament to how important the Australian market is to Hyundai, and how seriously we take our environmental responsibility.
"Because of the way we build our ix35 Fuel Cells, Hyundai Australia has the ability to order these incredible cars in the same way as we order any new Hyundai cars. We hope to work with governments on all levels to make the technology more widespread."
In Europe the cost of hydrogen is equivalent to diesel.
Extensive crash, fire and leak testing has also successfully been completed before the cars went into production.
Hybrid cars are nothing new in Australia, with Toyota among the most popular with its Prius and Camry using regenerative battery power to supplement combustion engines.
BMW has released the i3, which is available purely with electric power or with a small back-up petrol engine, while Audi is about to release a plug-in hybrid, similar to what has been in the Holden Volt and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Mercedes-Benz also has plans to release up to 10 models with comparable technology by 2017.