The Hyundai ix35 fuel cell has gone on sale for a heady £53,105. The price includes a £15,000 grant from the HyFive consortium – a European project aiming to encourage sales of hydrogen fuel-cell cars.
When we took the clever Hyundai for a spin last week, we found it to be an extremely relaxing drive – arguably a good thing as you recover from the shock of that frighteningly high price tag.
The car is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that feeds electricity to a 134hp electric motor, which turns the front wheels. It’s silent in its operation, apart from a gentle humming noise that’s produced deliberately to warn unsuspecting pedestrians of the car’s approach.
While not fleet of foot on paper (0-62mph takes 12.5 seconds), the ix35 provides the instant get up and go expected of the electric-car breed and the silent surge suits the fact that there’s little enjoyment to be gained from wringing its neck.
Aside from the absence of noise, there’s not much else to separate the fuel-cell car from a bog-standard ix35, bar the fixed-ratio gearbox that circumvents the need for gear changes. It works well, with an entirely smooth delivery.
The instant shove means it’s easier to spin up the front wheels than in the standard car, both from a standstill and when exiting slow corners but, in the dry at least, the slip is minimal before the traction control puts an end to such shenanigans.
Fuelling costs are said to be broadly comparable to conventionally fuelled vehicles, but hydrogen stations are currently only available in Swindon and London – with five additional sites opening in the capital by the end of 2015.
The fuel-cell Hyundai is – according to some industry experts – a sign of things to come and forms part of the HyFive project’s mission to have 110 hydrogen-powered cars deployed across Europe from partners including not only Hyundai, but also Honda, Daimler, BMW and Toyota.
Sadly, the price and fuelling restrictions mean they are unlikely to become a common sight anytime soon.
Nevertheless, anyone keen to join the revolution can contact Hyundai’s sustainable fuel development manager, Robin Hayles, who’ll happily get you behind the wheel of the ix35 for the aforementioned princely sum.
If you’re interested in the Hyundai ix35, head over to our car configurator to see how much you could save with carwow. Or, for more options, head over to our car deals page to see our latest discounts.