Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

Press Information

September 2015

1)  Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

The world’s first commercially-available production fuel cell vehicle

At first glance the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell looks just like every other car that rolls off the assembly line in Ulsan, Korea.

There are a few subtle changes – the blue-tinged badging, the grille and the lack of an exhaust pipe for example – but essentially it looks identical to the petrol and diesel-powered examples built on the same line.

And that is as it should be. The design philosophy behind the world’s first series production ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle is that it should look, drive and behave just like a conventional car, demanding no compromises from its driver. It should also offer similar performance (100mph maximum, 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds) and a similar range (almost 370 miles) of any other conventional petrol or diesel model.

The one big difference, however, is that it produces no tailpipe emissions.

The result of intensive development since 1998, the first production ix35 Fuel Cell rolled off the line at the end of February 2013. The white (now available in red or blue) ix35 was the first of 17 examples destined for fleet customers in Copenhagen, Denmark and Skane, Sweden where local authorities started an extensive hydrogen project.

In 2015, ix35 Fuel Cell is now available and on the road in 15 countries across the globe including 11 in Europe.

Existing ix35 Fuel Cell customers include Transport for London, mining company Anglo American and chemical company, Air Products. The world’s first mass-produced and commercially available fuel cell electric vehicle has been sold through central Hyundai channels to selected trial partners since 2013, although it is now fully available for all customers.

ix35 Fuel Cell demonstrates the brand’s technical expertise and commitment to ultra-low emission motoring. Hyundai has sold 359 ix35 Fuel Cells worldwide which is in line with the rate of infrastructure development.

Quick and easy refuelling

A Fuel Cell vehicle can be refilled in two to three minutes and, in use, an ix35 Fuel Cell demands no compromise from the driver.

Real world testing

The car and its driveline was engineered at Hyundai’s fuel cell R&D centre in Mabuk, Korea. The concept has already logged more than 2 million miles of testing under real-world conditions in Europe, Korea and the US.

The ix35 was chosen as the basis for Hyundai’s first Fuel Cell vehicle partly due to the appeal of the conventional car. Part SUV, part family car, ix35 combines practicality and style in equal measures.

In creating the Fuel Cell version, Hyundai’s engineers have ensured that the installation of the fuel cell stack, hydrogen tanks, batteries and other key control systems of the drivetrain have not impacted on the usability of the car.

The fuel cell is located under the bonnet, alongside other components such as the high voltage junction box and the compact electric motor, which drives the front wheels. The high voltage battery and inverter system are housed in a waterproof casing, underneath the vehicle and mid mounted for optimum weight distribution.

The major components of the fuel cell itself are the negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode, with a proton exchange membrane (or PEM) sandwiched between the two.

Hydrogen is drawn into the fuel cell stack, where it passes over the anode. At this point, the electrons within the hydrogen molecules are passed along the anode, while the hydrogen molecules protons are passed through the proton exchange membrane. The electrons continue to flow along the anode, through an electrical circuit and then along the cathode. It is this flow of electrons that produce electrical charge to both the on-board battery and the motor. The electrons join again with the protons that passed through the PEM and react with air from the atmosphere, producing water vapour.

The fuel cell stack is controlled by a support system known as BOP (Balance of Plant), which controls careful management of heat and material flow. The ix35 BOP comprises three main elements: a Thermal Management System (TMS), Air Processing System (APS) and Fuel Processing System (FPS).

Heat management

Heat is generated during the fuel cell stack operation, which can affect its efficiency. In the ix35 Fuel Cell, the TMS maintains the temperature of the fuel cell stack at an optimal level and has a number of different elements, including a stack water pump with a three-way valve that directs cooling water to different locations depending on requirements.

A fuel cell vehicle also requires a reliable supply of air (oxygen) for the electrochemical reaction within the fuel cell. The ix35 Fuel Cell APS consists of a near silent and quick response blower and shut off valve, which shuts down air flow when the vehicle is not in use  whilst a high grade air filter blocks particulate matters and chemicals such as SO2 (sulphur dioxide) from entering the fuel cell.

The FPS converts high pressure hydrogen from the hydrogen tank into lower pressure hydrogen for use in fuel cell stack and also re-circulates residual hydrogen in the stack to be reused.

Low centre of gravity

Lithium-ion batteries are mounted low in the centre of the car for optimum weight distribution and to provide a low centre of gravity. The ix35 Fuel Cell also has a conventional 12v battery located in the boot, which is used for starting and for powering ancillary devices such as the navigation system.

There are two inter-linked hydrogen gas tanks that are made from carbon fibre and aluminium to save weight without compromising strength. One is located under the luggage floor and the second, smaller, tank is ahead of the rear axle. Together they hold 5.6kg of hydrogen at 700 bar: enough for a range of 594 kilometres (369 miles).

Fuel consumption figures can be difficult to translate into traditional km/l or mpg figures, however to do so requires the comparison of the energy content of hydrogen and petrol. With a range of 594km and a tank capacity of 5.6kg of hydrogen, it equates that 1kg of hydrogen will deliver 106km of range. Hydrogen has around the same energy content of 3.7 litres of petrol, therefore this would give a ‘traditional’ figure of 28.6 km.

Performance is similar to a conventional ix35, with the fuel cell’s output of 100kW (136hp) giving a top speed of 100mph whilst 0-62mph takes 12.5 seconds, with 300Nm, of torque being available from a standstill. And there are no tailpipe emissions.

The Fuel Cell vehicle is heavier by 100kg than the conventional ix35 and the hydrogen tank under the boot floor is larger than a petrol or diesel tank. This means a luggage capacity of about 436 litres.

Driving Modes

The ix35 Fuel Cell has several modes of operation:

In Fuel Cell Mode the fuel cell stack generates electricity supplied from the on-board hydrogen tank, which then drives the electric motor directly.

In Power Assist Mode, electricity from the fuel cell stack is augmented by power from the high voltage (25kW) battery for an extra boost.

In Power Charge Mode a portion of electricity being produced by the fuel cell is supplied to the battery to keep it topped up for later use.

Under deceleration and braking, Regenerative Braking Mode allows kinetic energy to be converted back into electricity by the motor and inverter and is stored in the battery.

From the driver’s seat the only significant changes are to the instrumentation, with different dials showing the levels of charge or power recouped during regenerative braking depending on the operation mode of the vehicle, and the single speed transmission.

2)  Hydrogen refuelling infrastructure

The arrival of the first production ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles in October 2014 came just days after Business Minister Matthew Hancock announced £11 million of UK government and industry funding to support hydrogen transport. This continued investment in the sector through 2015 will expand the nationwide hydrogen re-fuelling station network, boosting consumer confidence and increasing uptake of fuel cell vehicles.

Current stations are located in Heathrow, Hendon (the first to be incorporated on a regular fuel station forecourt), Swindon, Aberdeen, and now Sheffield.

Most recently in September 2015, hydrogen supplier, ITM Products opened a new ultra-green refuelling station on the M1 just outside Sheffield. Featuring a wind turbine and water supply, the all-new site is completely self-sufficient. No hydrogen deliveries are needed as the filling station uses wind power combined with water to produce hydrogen. The site is open to the public and is capable of producing 80kg of hydrogen a day, enough for 16 fuel cell cars in one 24-hour period. It is the latest new filling station to be opened as part of the British Government’s £6.6 million hydrogen infrastructure investment strategy, which will also see three new re-fuelling stations with onsite hydrogen production in the Greater London area, a new mobile refueling station for the south of England and upgrades to existing stations in Swindon, Wales and London.

3)  Pricing

The price of the innovative Crossover SUV is from £53,105 OTR with part-funding from the HyFive project.

HyFive is a European project that aims to deploy 110 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) from the five global automotive companies that make up the HyFive consortium, which includes Hyundai. The project will also see another three hydrogen refuelling stations deployed in the London area, which will provide a total of five publically accessible refuelling stations in London by the end of 2015.

The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass produced fuel cell electric vehicle and has been sold through central Hyundai channels to selected trial partners since 2013. Already on the road in 15 countries around the world, including 11 in Europe, the ix35 Fuel Cell demonstrates the brand’s technical expertise and commitment to ultra-low emission motoring.

The ix35 Fuel Cell is available for immediate order directly from Hyundai Motor UK. Please contact Robin Hayles, Special Vehicle Manager at Hyundai Motor UK via email [email protected] for further information.

4)  Technical specifications

Powertrain and transmission

Front-mounted induction motor with two mid-mounted hydrogen fuel cell storage tanks.


24 kWh lithium polymer

Fuel cell

100 kW fuel cell with two hydrogen storage tanks

Power / torque

100 kW (136 ps) / 300 Nm available from zero rpm


Gear differential unit


H2O (water) only


Suspension and damping


Fully independent – subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, with coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll stabiliser bar.


Fully independent – subframe-mounted multi-links, coil springs and gas-filled ASD shock absorbers.




Electric power-assisted rack and pinion

Overall ratio



2.83 turns lock-to-lock

Turning circle

10.6 metres




Servo-assisted, electronically-controlled


Ventilated discs; 300 mm


Solid discs; 262 mm

Parking brake

Hand-operated lever


4-channel anti-lock system with EBD


Boosts braking power during emergency stops


Downhill Brake Control maintains 8 km/h speed during descents

100-to-0 km/h

41.7 metres


Wheels and tyres


Alloy 17 x 6.5 in


225/60 R17


Tyre mobility kit


Dimensions (mm)


Overall length


Overall width

1820 (excluding door mirrors)

Overall height

1655 (Unladen)



Front track


Rear track


Front overhang


Rear overhang


Ground clearance















Shoulder room



Hip room




Off-road capability

Approach angle

24.2 degrees

Departure angle

26.9 degrees

Ramp over angle

17.0 degrees

Roll over angle

45.0 degrees

Max. climb angle

44.19 degrees


Weight (kg)

Kerb weight


Gross weight






Hydrogen storage tank

5.64 kg / 700 bar (70 MPa)


465 – 1436 litres



Top speed (km/h)


0-to-100 km/h (sec)




Driving range

594 km

kg / 100 km (hydrogen)


* Figures stated are manufacturer’s estimates

5)  Q&A

Explaining the zero-emission technology behind the hydrogen-powered vehicle

Q: What is hydrogen?
A: Hydrogen is the lightest of all chemical elements, some 14 times lighter than air. It also has the simplest atomic structure, its nucleus composed of one proton orbited by one electron. Its chemical symbol is H2.

Q: Where can it be found?
A: Everywhere. It exists in unlimited quantities on our planet and is one of two atoms composing water -and water covers 70 per cent of the world’s surface. Unlike oil, hydrogen will never run out.

Q: How is Hydrogen used as an energy source?
A: It is not an energy source, but an energy carrier. When used in a fuel cell, it generates electricity via a chemical reaction with the electricity used to power the motor of an FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle). The fuel cell is far from a recent invention: the principle was discovered in the 1830s.

A key mass of hydrogen has the equivalent energy of a gallon of petrol (- 3.7 litres)

Q: How does a fuel cell work?
A: In a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell, hydrogen generates electricity via a chemical reaction. The basic component of a fuel cell is composed of two electrodes – a negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode. The anode is supplied with hydrogen and the cathode with oxygen but although the hydrogen molecules are attracted to the cathode, the membrane is designed to allow only the protons to pass through not the electrons. The H+ ions (the protons minus their electron) pass through the membrane combine with the oxygen to create the only by-product of the process, H2O or water. The electrons, meanwhile, are blocked at the anode level and can only move in an external circuit, thus generating an electric current.

Q: If the Fuel Cell has been around for nearly two centuries, why is it only now being used to drive vehicles?
A: Hydrogen is more complex to produce than petroleum. It doesn’t occur naturally in isolation and is always combined with other elements and therefore has to be isolated. The most common compounds are those with carbon, in the form of natural gas, and with oxygen as water.

Q: What else is hydrogen used for?
A: Around half of the world’s hydrogen is used in the manufacture of fertiliser and nearly 40 per cent is used by the petrochemical industry in the desulphurisation process and the production of ammonia, methanol and hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen is also used in rocket propulsion. Worldwide hydrogen production currently stands at 45 million tonnes per year.

Q: How is hydrogen produced?
A: There are three main methods currently used.

1: Steam reforming of natural gas. Natural gas is reacted with steam to form hydrogen and carbon monoxide and currently is the most common method of producing hydrogen, but it does result in greenhouse gas emissions.

2: Electrolysis of water. An electric current is passed between two electrodes submerged in water. Hydrogen accumulates at the cathode and oxygen at the anode. This method of producing hydrogen results in no GHG emissions if the electricity used was generated by nuclear or renewable means.

3: Waste stream hydrogen. Hydrogen is a by-product of some industrial processes such as the manufacture of sodium chlorate via electrolysis of sodium chloride brine.

Q: How clean is hydrogen?
A: ‘Brown’ hydrogen, currently the most common hydrogen that’s commercially available, is hydrogen generated using non-renewable sources of energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen. In addition, supplies are usually trucked to the refuelling station. Carbon emissions are released during both the separation and distribution processes.

‘Green’ hydrogen is generated, usually on site at point of use, using renewable sources of energy to eliminate all carbon emissions and the need for fuel deliveries. An example of this is ITM Products‘ new ultra-green refuelling station on the M1 just outside Sheffield.

Q: What about hydrogen produced from waste sources?
A: Hydrogen produced from sources such as biogas does produces CO2, but as this is not a fossil fuel resource this can be regarded as a ‘green’ production method.

Q: How safe is hydrogen?
A: Like all fuels, hydrogen must be treated with respect but when used with proper safety controls it is as safe as petrol or diesel. Refuelling a fuel cell car such as the ix35 Fuel Cell is done under high pressure – 700 bar – via a secure locked seal to ensure no hydrogen escapes. If it does, being lighter than air, the hydrogen will simply float away and disperse: refuelling is always conducted either in the open air or in a well-ventilated space.

Q: How long does it take to refuel an ix35?
A: Unlike a battery EV, which can take up to eight hours to recharge, refuelling a Fuel Cell vehicle takes little longer than refilling a conventional petrol or diesel car: it takes about three minutes to completely fill an ix35. The car has two hydrogen tanks – one under the boot floor, the second ahead of the front axle. Together they hold 144 litres of hydrogen, or 5.64 kilos. This is enough for a range of 369 miles (594 km).

Q: This is not the first time we have been told that hydrogen-powered cars are just around the corner. What makes it different this time?
A: The technology is more advanced, notably with the move to higher pressure refuelling (from 350 bar to 700 bar) which permits a greater amount of hydrogen to be carried for an extended range. There is the start of a refuelling network – with more stations on the way – and, thanks to Hyundai, the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle has finally made it to mass production.

Q: What is the expected growth of Fuel Cell vehicles in the UK?
A: It is expected there will be 10,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020, a figure which will grow dramatically over the next decade, resulting in more than 1.6 million such vehicles in the UK by 2030. By that time, it is expected that 300,000 examples will be sold in the UK each year. 2030 is a critical year, according to Element Energy. Their predictions suggest that by then fuel cell vehicles will be at least cost-competitive with conventional vehicles while the refuelling network will be past its break-even point. Fuel cell vehicles will be on course to take as much as 50 per cent of the new car market by 2050.

What are Hyundai’s predicted sales volumes for the ix35 Fuel Cell?

A: We’re developing our production operations in line with demand, and we’re working closely with various organisations in Europe to support the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles

Hyundai aims to sell some hundred cars in the next two to three years, with the potential for more

By the end of 2015 deliveries will have been made to 13 European countries, including: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the UK

Latest reports stated that you are behind your actual sales target for the ix35 Fuel Cell in Europe your target was 1,000 units globally by end of 2015 and you have delivered just 359 globally as of Aug 2015. What went wrong?

A: We have made great progress in delivering our ix35 Fuel Cell to various countries in Europe

The ix35 Fuel Cell is already available in 11 countries in Europe (total 13 markets by end of 2015), far more than any other commercially available fuel cell car and we will expand in more markets in the near future

In terms of pace, we are in line with the roll out of hydrogen stations in Europe and we’re optimistic to further drive the commercialisation of fuel cell cars in Europe

In 2015 we will deliver more than 150 cars in Europe alone

By the end of 2015 the total fleet of ix35 Fuel Cell in Europe will exceed 250 cars since 2013, that is more than the total figure for all other FCEVs

The current European fleet of ix35 Fuel Cell cars has already driven over one million kilometres

Does Hyundai have any information on the price of competitor hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles available in Europe?

A: Only one other manufacturer has announced the retail price of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle in Europe

Toyota has announced a price of EUR 66,000 (in Germany excl. VAT, incl. VAT EUR 78,540) for its Mirai model. Toyota will start deploying in three European countries which are Denmark, Germany and UK whereas Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell is available throughout many European countries with refuelling infrastructure.

Can you explain the certified dealer network concept?

A: These certified Fuel Cell Dealerships are equipped with the specialised tools to maintain the ix35 Fuel Cell car and are staffed with experienced and trained personnel to offer the same high quality service that all other Hyundai customers experience

If a customer orders an ix35 Fuel Cell and there is no certified Fuel Cell Dealership immediately available we will take care to certify a dealership by the time the car is delivered (depending on market)

Can you explain the Five-Year All-Inclusive package?

A: The package comprises insurance, maintenance, warranty, hydrogen refuelling and valet service and is valid for five years. It is now available in the core markets for FCEVs such as: Netherlands, Denmark and Norway

What will happen at the end of the life cycle of a fuel cell electric vehicle? Will it be returned or can the car be scrapped?

A: The ix35 Fuel Cell can be scrapped like any other car. In terms of the high-voltage components, there is no difference to other electric vehicles such as hybrids

Can you give an example of a European market price?

A: Local retail price differs from market to market depending on local taxation, government incentives and further programmes to support the sales of zero-emissions vehicles locally, therefore there is no pan-European retail price


About Hyundai Motor

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2014 sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With almost 100,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell.

More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: or   

About Hyundai Motor Europe

In 2014, Hyundai Motor Europe achieved registrations of 424.467 units – an increase of 1% compared to 2013. Almost 95% of the vehicles Hyundai sells in the region are designed, engineered and tested in Europe to meet the needs of European customers. And 90% are built at its two local factories in the Czech Republic and Turkey, which have a combined annual capacity of 500.000 units. Hyundai sells cars in 30 European countries across 2.500 outlets.

About Hyundai Motor UK

Hyundai has sold vehicles in the UK since 1982. In 2005, Hyundai opened its own UK subsidiary, Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, based in High Wycombe. Since 2008, the company has risen from 21st to one of the top ten car manufacturers in the UK and last year sold a record 82,159 vehicles. Hyundai Motor UK employs more than 3,000 people through its UK operations and dealer network.

Hyundai offers a full range of vehicles from the award-winning New Generation i10 city car through to the capable Santa Fe SUV and iLoad LCV. All passenger cars come with Hyundai’s industry-leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty package. Further information about Hyundai and its products is available at

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