Emission-free hydrogen powered vehicles will soon be operating in London. It is the intention that five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell models – the first production fuel cell cars in the world – will be an integral part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LNHE) project.

Hyundai Motor, as a supplier to the LHNE project, will join the existing consortium of companies with expertise in hydrogen transport infrastructure and operation, working to establish the UK’s first hydrogen transport network covering London and south east England. The LHNE project, a government-backed initiative co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, will put hydrogen-fuelled vehicles into daily business use and deliver the refuelling infrastructure to support their operation.

These fuel cell vehicles will be leased to key public and private fleet users in the capital. They are among the first of 1,000 examples that Hyundai has committed to produce between now and 2015 and are built on the same production line, in Ulsan, Korea, as the Tucson.

The majority of those 1,000 cars will be available in Europe where the European Commission has established a number of schemes, such as the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), to promote the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier with zero carbon content.

With various hydrogen projects concentrating on establishing hydrogen infrastructure in Europe, the timing is right for hydrogen-powered vehicles to accelerate the project.

As the first car company in the world to assembly line-produce fuel cell vehicles, Hyundai has enabled not just the real start of Europe’s Hydrogen Roadmap but also accelerated London’s plans to become one of the major hydrogen capitals of the world.

For Hyundai, the philosophy behind the ix35 Fuel Cell project has been to produce a car that offers the same practicality, safety levels and driving experience as an ix35 driven by an internal combustion engine, but with zero tailpipe emissions.  That means comparable performance – 100mph maximum, 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds and a range of almost 370 miles from each tank – but with no emissions: the only emission is water.

Just as importantly, 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.

Although Hyundai has been developing its Fuel Cell vehicles for more than 15 years, it is only now – with the start of a viable hydrogen refuelling network in place –  that it can consider putting a fuel cell car into series production.

So after a number of ‘false dawns’ for hydrogen-powered cars, this time the Fuel Cell vehicle has a genuine, clear and realistic future here in the UK. Much of this is down to the work of the London Hydrogen Partnership and that of other projects such as the London Hydrogen Network Expansion project which is led by Air Products.

With these key partners working together, hydrogen mobility is about to become a reality. Two hydrogen fuel stations are already open in the Capital – one of which has public access – with a third to come as part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project.

Read full press release here.