It’s been said before that we need to find a new source of power with which to drive our future vehicles and it would appear that the choices have already been reduced to two. Electricity and hydrogen. This could be the new VHS vs Beta Max or Blu Ray vs HD-DVD. It’s a cruel world out there, for the winner, the spoils, the loser…
Hyundai have clearly been adding their weight behind the hydrogen argument and have been since the start of the battle and their hard work is clearly beginning to pay off. Hyundai Motor’s have shared with MotorMartin that their hydrogen success is continuing to move forward as Aberdeen City Council and Co-wheels car club add four ix35 Fuel Cells to their fleet of models. The cars will be made available to the public through the car club on a pay-as-you-go basis and to Aberdeen businesses for trial.
This order, MotorMartin has been told, takes the nationwide total of Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles to 15 with more than 250 across Europe. Those vehicles in the UK are already in use by Johnson Matthey, TfL, Air Products, ITM Power and Anglo American.
Hyundai Motor UK CEO, Tony Whitehorn let MotorMartin know that: “As more and more cities throughout the UK begin to improve their hydrogen facilities, we’re seeing greater demand for our ix35 Fuel Cell. It’s fantastic to be a part of Aberdeen’s hydrogen development in this way, especially because the cars are going to be used on a day-to-day basis by members of the public. We want them to experience all the reasons why we think hydrogen is the way forward in terms of usability, refinement and ultra-clean motoring.”
If there is to be a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel power, an alternative that is as easy to use as fossil fuels then it is surely going to be schemes like this that will have to put the miles in to provide valuable development and feedback for companies like Hyundai.
Aberdeen City Councillor Barney Crockett, who also chairs the European hydrogen association HyER, added to MotorMartin that: “Aberdeen is developing a reputation as a ‘can-do’ hydrogen city. With these cars, we are taking things to the next level, moving ever closer to becoming a world-leading renewables city and securing a hydrogen economy in Aberdeen, presenting tangible opportunities to the energy industry.”
In addition, as part of the UK’s Hydrogen Week (March 14-18, 2016), the government-backed London Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) – of which Hyundai Motor is a partner – broke two new distance records for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles driving in the ix35 Fuel Cell.
The first record, MotorMartin has been told, was for the longest journey in the UK on a single tank of hydrogen – travelling 406 miles – and the second was for the longest continuous journey made in a fuel cell vehicle by travelling 6,096 miles over 50 laps of the M25 in six days. Clearly there is going to be a big future for Hydrogen Cell technology.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is the first hydrogen car to go on sale to the public in the UK – it has a range of 326 miles but emits only water and has a refueling time to match a combustion-engined car. And in MotorMartin’s opinion, it is the current refuelling time that is holding back electricity as a viable option.
LHNE, co-funded by Innovate UK, was set up in 2012 to create the UK’s first hydrogen-powered transport system across London and the South East. It has delivered a new publicly-accessible, state-of-the-art fast-fill Air Products SmartFuel® hydrogen refuelling station and upgraded a second to the requisite 700 bar pressure status.
The LHNE partners are now keen for the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology to accelerate in the UK but one of the main challenges is the limited coverage of refuelling stations to support the vehicles. There are currently six stations in the UK, including the two public Air Products SmartFuel® stations in London and funding is in place for at least 12 to be operational in England and Scotland within the next 12 months.
So there you have it, a massive MotorMartin well done to Hyundai for providing an alternative to electricity and hybrid power. I can’t help but think that this is a battle that is going to run and run.
Where will you go?