Hyundai's second-gen hydrogen fuel-cell powered SUV will arrive next year, replacing the current Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell.
Expected to have a four-year production run of at least 10-15,000 units, "as many as possible" of the as-yet unnamed ix35 Fuel Cell successor will make it to the UK, according to Hyundai product PR manager Robin Hayles.
By 2017, there will be 1,000 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell cars on the roads, with a large number of these owned by hydrogen infrastructure companies. The next car will be targeted more at the public, with a much smaller percentage of sales expected to be from non-private buyers. This suggests a lower price than the £53,105 (Rs 50.78 lakh) of the ix35 Fuel Cell.
Scalable production methods mean that the number quoted for production could grow considerably, depending on demand. The model is also expected to be an SUV similar in size to the ix35, but it will focus on weight reduction over the current car rather than further honing of the powertrain technology. The ix35's replacement will be the sixth generation of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that Hyundai has tested, but only the second generation to be commercially available. The replacement for the ix35 will make up part of the Hyundai Group's planned hydrogen fuel cell vehicle offensive.
The design and body have already been signed off, and although specifications of the car are a closely guarded secret, Hayles revealed that demand from customers for more options and choice on the ix35 Fuel Cell has driven Hyundai to offer the model in other colours, as well as in right-hand-drive form. Despite the initial production of left-hand drive models, the car is being produced with an easy conversion from left to right-hand drive in mind.
The success of the 2017 model in the UK is to be determined by customer demand, which Hyundai hopes will be drummed up by events that will raise public awareness of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Despite recent publicity surrounding the variety of powertrains offered with the new Hyundai Ioniq, the new fuel cell vehicle will not carry the Ioniq badge and will be developed as a standalone vehicle.
Despite Hyundai's involvement with hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, the firm has ruled out any investment in the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure the near future. However, Hayles confirmed that infrastructure is one of the contributory factors to fuel cell vehicles' limited success when compared with their battery EV counterparts.