Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle is almost ready to roll

Is the finish line for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in sight for Hyundai?

Yes, if they are to be believed from a recent event in London where the company showcased the ix35, the automaker’s third generation fuel cell ride. If all goes according to plan, Hyundai expects by the end of 2012 to produce 1,000 fuel cell vehicles for both government and private fleets.

Of course Hyundai is not the only one aiming for mass production of fuel cell vehicles, which the auto manufacturer currently predicts will happen by 2015. That same time frame is shared by others, such as Toyota, for example, while Opel, GM’s European subsidiary, announced last year its test fleet of these types of cars had already passed the two million mile mark.

Hyundai’s travels down the fuel cell vehicle road have been long to say the least, with it first showcasing the Santa Fe FCEV many, many moons ago. It was followed a few years ago by the Tucson ix35 FCEV. This vehicle was used in a test fleet of 50 in Korea as well as, GM-VOLT reports, other tests around the world.

Now we have the newest being displayed for the curious to see, still wondering if fuel cells will ever amount to anything more than a niche of a green car niche.

Still, the new ix35 has some impressive technical specifications. Hyundai claims the vehicle, equipped with a 100 kW fuel cell stack and two hydrogen storage tanks, could travel a total of 325 miles on a single refueling and reach a maximum speed of 100 mph. The range, while impressive, is less than Toyota’s FCV-R concept, pegged at around 435 miles or so, and also less than the 400 or so miles Hyundai claimed back in in 2011.

For the trend watchers out there, Hyundai also showed off in April of last year a more stylish fuel cell concept known as Blue2. Being it was a concept, it had fancy add ons like LED exterior panels, cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, leather leaf-pattern interior, and even a cluster ionizer to filter the air.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling