Hyundai has developed and promotes a wide variety of clean technologies, with the vision of a sustainable future for Europe’s transport requirements. The company's vision and strategy has earned its recognition as one of the 'Top Global Green Brands of 2012’ in Interbrand's ‘50 Global Green Brands’ report. Placed 17th overall, Hyundai was one of the highest-ranked automakers. Interbrand made particular mention of Hyundai’s industry leadership in zero-emissions technology through advances in hydrogen fuel-cell development.
Since 2000, Hyundai has become a world-leader in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, operating the world’s largest fuel-cell research centre in Korea. In Europe, the company is involved in a wide range of initiatives and partnerships to help promote hydrogen as the ‘fuel of the future.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is the third-generation fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) from Hyundai, following the introduction of the Santa Fe FCEV in 2000 and the Tucson FCEV in 2004.
It presents a strong case as a truly viable everyday vehicle, retaining the safety, equipment, convenience and performance of the conventionally powered ix35, yet producing zero harmful tailpipe emissions. In fact, water is the only waste product of turning chemical energy from hydrogen into electrochemical energy.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is equipped with a 100 kW (136 ps) electric motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h. Two hydrogen storage tanks, with a total capacity of 5.64 kg, enable the vehicle to travel a total of 594 km on a single charge, and it can reliably start in temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius. The energy is stored in a 24 kW lithium-ion polymer battery, jointly developed with LG.
The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell incorporates several important innovations over its predecessor, including a 55% improvement in driving range, a 15% increase in fuel efficiency and an 80% reduction in manufacturing costs.
One of the most advanced vehicles of its type, and benefiting from continued development and improvements in production costs, the ix35 Fuel Cell is set to be available to a much wider range of users by 2015.
With governments, non-profit organisations and private ventures all looking to more efficient transport for the future, Hyundai is helping to spearhead the movement that promotes hydrogen as a future fuel for Europe, currently testing seven examples of the ix35 Fuel Cell around the continent.
In May 2011, Hyundai supplied ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles to the mayors of the capital cities of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Hyundai and the City of Copenhagen, fuel cell producer H2 Logic, and Hydrogen Link. The aim of the agreement is to establish an infrastructure for the support of FCEVs in Copenhagen, a city which aims to be carbon neutral by 2025.
Later that year, the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell was selected by the European Commission-backed ‘Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking’ to be used as a demonstration vehicle to test and promote hydrogen fuel cell technology in a real-world environment. As part of the initiative, the ix35 Fuel Cell was made available for Members of the European Parliament, Commissioners, EU officials and other policy makers to test drive, providing great visibility for the ix35 Fuel Cell and hydrogen vehicle technology among policy maker.
At the start of 2012, Hyundai signed an MOU along with 12 other industry participants to launch a scheme called UKH2Mobility. This draws on the experience of other hydrogen initiatives from across Europe to investigate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for ultra-low carbon vehicles. Calling on £400 million (€500 million) of funding from the UK government, the results of the scheme will lead to further steps to introduce hydrogen as a more mainstream fuel in the UK.
In the short term, Hyundai’s Blue Drive strategy is focused on ever-cleaner petrol and diesel models for Europe, to bring widespread efficiency gains and environmental benefits.
Key technologies found in Blue Drive models include Integrated, Stop Go (ISG), low-rolling resistance tyres, an alternator management system and an eco-shift indicator to promote a more efficient driving style.
These practical and affordable technologies work towards the reduction of emissions, offering excellent real-world results. For instance, the New Generation i30 Blue Drive emits just 97 g/km of CO₂ from a 1.6-litre 128 ps engine. This gives the vehicle the best power-to-efficiency ratio in its class. Other sub-100 g/km models include the New i20, Europe’s least-polluting conventionally-powered vehicle on sale, which emits just 84 g/km of CO₂.
When the car is moving in gear but with a closed throttle, the braking effect of the engine generates kinetic energy that is converted into electricity and stored in the battery. This reduces both fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions.