Hyundai ix35 FCEV Review Autocar

13 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Hyundai ix35 FCEV Review Autocar отключены
Hyundai Electric Cars

Hyundai ix35 FCEV

What is it?

The future according to Hyundai. Plug-in electric cars may have been hogging the environmentally friendly limelight in recent years, but Korea’s manufacturing powerhouse is adamant that the range, usability and edible emissions of hydrogen fuel cells make it the long-term alternative technology to pursue.

Hyundai has been doing exactly that since 2005, but this ix35 FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) is the first working prototype to arrive on UK shores. Accompanied by two protective Korean research engineers, the car is intended to promote the firm’s continuing development of the system, and remind Europeans that it is building towards a 10,000 car production run in 2015.

Fancy livery aside, the FCEV appears no different from the ix35 launched in the UK last year, but the engine bay is dominated by the fuel cell stack which feeds charge to a 100kw electric motor (equivalent to 134bhp) beneath it. Hyundai has confirmed that the crossover will be the model to lead its hydrogen offensive as it begins to look at deploying government-leased test fleets in 2013.

What’s it like?

In all honesty, much like any other recent electric car. The ix35 drives with the hushed civility and slightly characterless sense of function common to all EVs; the critical difference resides in the three figure number displayed front and centre on the dash.

Despite registering half empty on our brief jaunt around a closed course, the FCEV claimed it had enough juice for a further 240 miles. Brim the 144-litre hydrogen tank nestled beneath the boot floor (which bulges like Superman’s tights) and the big Hyundai will reputedly cover 360 miles.

In contrast, the Nissan Leaf — arguably the best of the plug-in bunch — will manage just 100 miles before its battery is exhausted. Because the 100kw fuel cell requires oxygen to mix with its onboard supply of hydrogen, the ix35 employs a 21kw lithium-ion battery too, but only for pulling away and supplementing hard acceleration. Like a conventional hybrid, the FCEV will recharge its alternative power source as required.

If the range figure wasn’t seductive enough the Hyundai has other appealing advantages. Foremost is the pervading sense of little compromise being made on the inside. Thanks to their forever depleting batteries, running the ancillary electrical devices on most EVs is effectively like shooting a hole in your fuel tank, but the FCEV’s onboard generator makes running the air conditioning full blast seem relatively painless.

Planting the accelerator is also less of a guilty pleasure, and despite tipping the scales at around 1800kg (some 200kg more than a conventional 2.0-litre ix35) the big Hyundai will hit 60mph in 12.8 seconds and apparently swish all the way to a claimed 100mph.

Hyundai Electric Cars

Should I buy one?

Well, you can’t yet, and there’s no guarantee that when you finally can, you definitely should. Despite the usual prototype foibles, the FCEV has more than enough going for it to recommend the fuel cell tech underneath, but the associated problems — which are not of Hyundai’s making — should cause any buyer to pause.

The fundamental issue with hydrogen-powered cars is still the chronic lack of the infrastructure required to refuel them. Storing the element remains a troublesome business, and it’s not one which Britain is currently investing much time or money solving.

It’s a substantial hurdle, and the FCEV’s arrival in the UK is no doubt intended to influence the legislators who will ultimately help to decide the fuel’s fate. That uncertainty means that Britain is not one of the four European countries signed up to receive a test fleet, and is not guaranteed to see any of the exclusively left-hand drive 2015 production run.

Nic Cackett

Hyundai ix35 FCEV

Price: N/A; Top speed: 100mph (claimed); 0-62mph: 12.8 sec; Economy: 360 mile range; CO2: Zero at source; Kerbweight: 1800kg; Engine type: 100kw electric motor; Power: 134bhp; Torque: TBC; Gearbox: Single speed

Hyundai Electric Cars

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