HYUNDAI’S ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle will headline two record attempts by a group of companies as part of Britain’s Hydrogen Week (March 11-18), with a continuous five-day and five-night drive around the M25 outside London.
Working together, the partners of the government-backed London Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) will attempt to set records for the longest journey on one tank of hydrogen (existing record 700km) and the longest continuous FCEV journey og 9,694.688km.
The record attempts, which will start on Monday, March 14, are part of the project’s efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of hydrogen-fuelled cars and their environmental credentials.
Hydrogen FCEVs produce no harmful tailpipe emissions with water being the only by-product. With range and refuelling times similar to those of petrol or diesel cars, they can be seen as direct replacements for conventional vehicles.
A series of drivers, including members of the media, will take the wheel of a Hyundai which will complete approximately 50 clockwise laps of the M25 between Monday and Friday next week.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is fitted with a 100-kilowatt electric motor, giving it a maximum speed of 160 km/h and has an official driving range of almost 600 kilometers on one tank of hydrogen, according to Hyundai.
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 SmartFuel hydrogen refuelling station and upgraded a second to the requisite 700 bar pressure status.
Hyundai Motor’s ix35 Fuel Cell car has been commercially available since 2014 and, last year, Toyota introduced its Mirai FCEV to the market.
Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are among several manufacturers known to be developing FCEVs to be launched in the coming years.
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.
Diana Raine, European Business Manager Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products, which has led the LHNE project, said: “The LHNE project is part of a range of hydrogen transport initiatives; many companies, organisations and bodies have been working for several years to establish the foundations of a hydrogen transport system in the UK.
“Although much progress has been made, limited refuelling station coverage is one of the main issues restricting further uptake of FCEVs in the UK. A further public-private sector push will be required to move the sector to the next level.”