I’m waiting for the fossil-fuelled lorry of yesterday to come and pick up the hydrogen car of the future. The Fuel Cell Hyundai and I are out of gas – literally – and reality has kicked in.
That reality means there isn’t a filling station close enough for me to fill up the ix35. It would be fine if I lived in London but running out of juice in the Fuel Cell car in the Cotswolds is a problem.
All that will change as as fuel cell technology improves and more hydrogen filling stations open up across the country.
It will take time but after a week with the Fuel Cell ix35, I can tell you that it’s well worth the wait.
It takes a little getting used to, the Hyundai Fuel Cell car. I drove 180 miles to London and back on the weekend and experienced the highs and minor lows of hydrogen ownership.
Firstly, there were a couple of ‘moments’ when I pressed the accelerator and there was hardly any response. It happened pulling away at a junction and I thought I was going to be rear-ended. No idea what the problem was but it did it twice and then the car was fine.
Then I returned home to the Cotswolds and discovered I only had 50 miles left in the tank. Of course, instead of popping down to the local petrol station, I had to study a map and work out where my nearest hydrogen tank was. Turns out it’s Swindon, quite a slep away.
And the highs? Well, whizzing down the M40 under a full moon in a car that’s quieter than any Rolls-Royce. It’s like being in a flying pod – silence. There’s no impression of speed, no artificial roar, no drama.
It’s quite brilliant and I can guarantee you will love the future of motoring, when fuel cells finally arrives…
Hyundai yesterday announced that a whole fleet of ix35 Fuel Cells will soon take to the streets of Paris as taxis. This I like – but the car is still more rare than almost any model of Ferrari.
Five hydrogen Hyundais joined the fleet in the French capital a year ago but now a further 60 have been ordered. There are currently just 300 on the road in 12 European countries.
The Toyota Mirai also runs on hydrogen but just a limited number have been released in the UK. The Honda Clarity is also on sale here. Both are more futuristic, while the ix35 blends in with the crowd.
Seeing a hydrogen car on the road in the UK really is a rarity. Will that change in the future? More than likely yes but it’s going to take a very long time to get there…
The simple fact is this – we could all be running our cars on environmentally friendly hydrogen if we wanted to. At present though, it’s not our choice.
The problem is the infrastructure isn’t there. Electric charging points are springing up across the country but it’s still a bind trying to find one sometimes. So given there are only a handful of hydrogen filling stations, it’s not really a feasible option to consider Fuel Cell.
Hyundai started working on hydrogen cars almost 20 years ago. There’s been a steady refinement since and on day two of driving the ix35 version, I can tell you there’s very little difference to a ‘normal’ car.
The only issue I have is that over 60mph there’s very little torque – and fuel consumption really suffers.
So like pure electric cars, this is really a machine for city dwellers. That said, give it a few years and technologically will have moved on to a point where even us country folk can consider owning one…