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Five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles joining London hydrogen project

The ix35 Fuel Cell. Click to enlarge.

Five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell models (earlier post) are joining the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LNHE) project. The ix35 Fuel Cell is Hyundai’s fourth-generation fuel cell vehicle, and its first to enter production.

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-fueled vehicles into daily business use and deliver the refueling infrastructure to support their operation.

Under the hood. Click to enlarge.

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.

Although Hyundai has been developing its fuel cell vehicles for more than 15 years, it is only with the start of a viable hydrogen refueling network in place that it is considering putting a fuel cell car into series production, the company said.

Two hydrogen fuel stations are already open in London—one of which has public access—with a third to come as part of the LHNE project. A further three fueling stations are planned by 2015, by which time it is expected that the number of fuel cell vehicles in London will have risen ten-fold from the initial five to at least 50 or more including passenger cars, buses and scooters.

The work of the London Hydrogen Partnership and other projects has really catapulted London towards the forefront of the move to a hydrogen future. Battery electric vehicles are a great technology but like the fax machine they are only temporary and there is a great deal of consumer resistance towards them for all manner of reasons, including range and the time it takes to recharge them.

Even though we have around 1,300 charging points in the capital you cannot guarantee getting a space outside your house to charge overnight: London is just too densely populated.

For me, hydrogen cracks all those problems and it also solves other issues along the way such as making best use of wind energy, for example. We also produce a huge amount of waste and we are looking at schemes that convert biomass into hydrogen. So as well as producing a clean fuel we would be reducing the amount of waste we put into landfill. These are early days, but I am tremendously excited by the prospects of London’s hydrogen future.

—Kit Malthouse, London Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise and Chairman of the London Hydrogen Partnership

The London Hydrogen Partnership has initiated more than £50 million (US$76 million) worth of hydrogen projects already. Its partners have been involved in the implementation of the two existing refueling stations, the operation of five fuel cell London buses which joined the Transport for London fleet in 2011, with another three to join in 2013, as well as a fleet of hydrogen iconic London taxis, fueled by hydrogen. Hyundai joined the LHP earlier this year. (Earlier post.)

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell. Hyundai chose the ix35 as the basis for its first production fuel cell vehicle partly due to the appeal of the conventional version. 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.

Fuel cell module. Click to enlarge.

The ix35 has a 100kW fuel cell stack that delivers power to a 100 kW, 300 N·m (221 lb-ft) electric motor with reducer for 0-62 mph acceleration in 12.5 seconds, a 100 mph top speed and a range of 369 miles (594 km). With a tank capacity of 5.6 kg of hydrogen, fuel economy works out to 1kg of hydrogen delivering 106 km of range. Hydrogen has around the same energy content of 3.7 liters of gasoline, therefore this would give a “traditional” figure of 28.6 km/liter (67.3 mpg US or 3.5 l/100 km), Hyundai suggests.

Fuel cell module and inverter assembly. Click to enlarge.

The Fuel Cell vehicle is heavier by 100 kg than the conventional ix35 and the hydrogen tank under the trunk floor is larger than a gasoline or diesel tank. This means a luggage capacity of about 436 liters (15.4 cubic feet). All ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles produced will be left-hand drive only at this stage.

Key components of fuel cell control system and electricity flow. Click to enlarge.   Creation of functional components for improved reliability and software use. Click to enlarge.

The fuel cell stack is located under the hood, 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 ix35 balance of plant (BOP) comprises three main elements: a Thermal Management System (TMS), Air Processing System (APS) and Fuel Processing System (FPS).

  • 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 (sulfur 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.

BOP components. Click to enlarge.

The Lithium-ion batteries are mounted low in the center of the car for optimum weight distribution and to provide a low center of gravity. The ix35 Fuel Cell also has a conventional 12V battery located in the trunk, 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 carbonfibre 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.

Hydrogen tank. Click to enlarge.

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

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 (3.2 million km) of testing under real-world conditions in Europe, Korea and the US.

Between now and 2015, Hyundai has committed to produce a total of 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles to be available across the globe where they will take part in similar trials as a sustainable Hydrogen Road Map is established.

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 (25 kW) 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.

London Hydrogen Partnership and LHNE. The London Hydrogen Partnership (LHP) was created in 2002 by the Greater London Authority and sees a number of key industry and stakeholder parties working towards a Hydrogen economy for London. The list of members includes a range of vehicle manufacturers, including Hyundai, infrastructure and hydrogen suppliers, consultancy companies, public sector bodies and London boroughs, stationary HFC manufacturers and academia. The LHP is involved in many H2 projects, one of them being the London Hydrogen Network Expansion project.

The London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project, which started in January 2013, aims to deliver a publicly accessible, 700 bar fast-fill hydrogen fueling station network across the capital and the South East. The LHNE project will also deploy a number of hydrogen vehicles, including a proposed five Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell cars and a number of hydrogen-powered vans.

The LHNE project is co-funded by a grant from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to help accelerate the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, bringing them into everyday use. The project, led by Air Products has a number of industrial and research organisations working as a consortium. The Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority are playing a supporting role in the project.



For comparison the luggage capacity of the regular i35 is given on the Hyundai UK website as 591 litres, as against the 436 litres for the fc.


Nothing about price.

This vehicle is more or less a PHEV with an HFC range extender (and no plug).  It needs to be compared to ICE-based PHEVs to see how the economics work out.

Nick Lyons

All the components of a BEV plus the fuel cell system (tanks, fuel cell, controls). One wonders how such a complicated/expensive system will compete with a much simpler BEV 10 years hence, given advances in battery tech.


I am not really with you.
The battery is only around 1.5kwh, hence no plug.
It should be compared to BEVs, not PHEVs.


If I can't fuel up at home - LNG, Hydrogen, or 40A electrical, I'm not saving the earth with my car. What is the legal status of installing a hydrogen tank/ dispenser/ reformer in your garage? Permit? Special contractor? $10k in labour and materials? Even a dedicated station within the basement parking garage of a condo or office bldg is not too bad. Purpose: destroy traditional gas stations - utterly and completely.


Purpose: destroy traditional gas stations - utterly and completely.


Good Grief!
It is pretty hard to have a logic based discussion here when people are on a mission against the Illuminati or whatever!
How about destroying the evil manufacturers of solar panels with their dangerous chemicals, and that dreadful electrical grid?


Sustainable Mobility and solar, Elon Musk will announce the design of his Hyperloop transport August 12th.


And just what do you have against the Illuminati? We are an "enlightened" society who were founded to oppose superstition, prejudice, abuses of state power, and to support women's education and gender equality. :P


I see no reason for the "traditional gas station" to go away.

Let them dispense methanol (made from thermochemical decomposition of garbage and tree trimmings), fast charges, and make their money in the C-store just like they do today.


That's true. For a station owner, the profits of selling gas are really low, he'll actually make more if you buy a can of pop than if you buy a tank full of gas.

Makes me wonder if he might not also get more profit from a quick charger. I've talked to a few, and they hate the oil companies more than we do.


What makes you think I am NOT an Illuminati?
And worse, a gas station owner! ;-)


Because you'd call it "petrol" if you did.


Resistance is futile:

Most if not all ground vehicles will be electrified.

Many unsafe drivers will be moved to the back seat and most military pilots will be grounded.

Most if not all current fuel stations will be progressively closed and/or replaced with ultra quick charge stations.

Most if not all coal fired power plants will be replaced.

Most if not all current nuclear power plants will be shut down and/or replaced by lower cost sustainable power sources.

Most if not all current light fixtures will be replaced with variable color long lasting 200 to 300+ lm/watt LED.

Most and not all current machine tools shops will be replaced with 3D printers operating 24/7 and producing small and large high precision parts and components.

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