Living with a Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell car

Living with a Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell car
Living with a Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell car

How green is hydrogen? Very green, proves an air quality test

We’re living with a hydrogen fuel cell car to find out how practical the tech of the future is today. Our bright white Hyundai ix35 FCV is duly liveried up with the key advantage of fuel cells to tell the world: the fact its only tailpipe emission is pure water.

It gets better. Any air the car ingests, it purifies as it drives: it needs air to help the fuel cell process and, thanks to a series of filters and a humidifier, the stuff it expels is far cleaner than the grotty air it takes in.

It’s the car they should celebrate you for driving around town, and it’s certainly made the bright graphics all down the car’s sides and rear window a bit more tolerable.

To help us spread the world, Hyundai sent us a video to highlight just what a big effect it has. It’s rather eye-catching: engineers fill a massive polythene ball with air, which they then top up with a gruesome mix of pollutants equivalent to those the average human would breath in over 100 years.

This nasty mix is then fed into the ix35 FCV’s air system: the air that comes out the other end is then sucked into another polythene ball. Which the head of R&D at Hyundai then puts over his head and cheerily breathes in (don’t try this at home, kids).

The point? The air out the back of a Hyundai ix35 is clean enough even for the engineering genius responsible for creating high-tech cars of the future such as the fuel cell Hyundai to breathe in. So impressive are we finding this forward-looking SUV, we can say with certainty that the firm wouldn’t intentionally put him to any harm, because he’s one of the men equipping it with the tech to face the future in rude health.

We’re not even finding filling it up with hydrogen a bane – because we’re lucky to live near two of the few UK hydrogen filling stations, in Heathrow and Teddington. A 200-mile range is thus more than enough – and venturing further afield is possible as well, thanks to more stations en route to, say, the south coast, west Wales or Sheffield.

You just need to make sure you’re registered, and that the hydrogen station actually has hydrogen in stock. It’s an infrastructure still in its infancy, so we’re prepared to be patient. But, like the electric charging network, it will need to quickly professionalise if it’s to enjoy mass adaptation – and quickly…

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