Hyundai races past records for hydrogen fuel range

Hyundai has broken two world records in an attempt to showcase the capabilities of its hydrogen fuel cell, in the same week that fellow South Korean carmaker KIA announced one of its electric vehicles will travel 2,500 miles across England and Ireland in a single journey.

As part of Hydrogen Week – which seeks to raise awareness of how hydrogen links to clean, renewable and sustainable energy – Hyundai set a new world record for the longest continuous journey in a hydrogen vehicle, after spending six days travelling more than 6,000 miles during a 50-lap tour of the M25.

The six-day journey – part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) – also saw the Hyundai ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) break another record by travelling 406 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.

Diana Raine, European business manager for hydrogen energy systems at Air Products – the firm spearheading the LHNE project – said: “It is fantastic to have overhauled the two records we aimed to beat this week. The fact that we have managed to drive 6,096 miles in under a week demonstrates perfectly the viability and usability of FCEVs.

“What we need now for accelerated adoption of hydrogen vehicles is for the Government to work with our industry to provide the right framework for the technology to become truly accepted by the public.”

As part of the project, a team of drivers travelled to four of the London-based hydrogen refuelling stations in the FCEV which was only considered to have a range of 326 miles, emitting only water.

The LHNE project, co-funded by Innovate UK and backed by the Government , is now seeking partners to adopt hydrogen fuel cell technology and accelerate the growth of refuelling stations – currently there are six in the UK, with plans in place to double that number over the next 12 months.

Hyundai has also this week revealed that there are now 15 FCEVs on the road in the UK, after Aberdeen Council purchased four vehicles as part of a pay-as-you-go public use scheme.

Transport EV-olved

Hyundai’s record-breaking journey has demonstrated the range of hydrogen vehicles and, by 26 April, KIA Motors is hoping that EVs will follow suite.

In partnership with Jury Inns Hotels – who will be providing accommodation – a KIA Soul EV will spend 20 days travelling across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on a 2,500 mile journey, dubbed ‘Route 57’.

The drive will be used to ease consumer concerns over the distance range that EVs can cover, after the AA revealed that this is the major reasons that people weren’t considering purchasing an EV.

In order to address the charging infrastructure issue, both Tesla and Google recently announced plans to accelerate the growth of commercial EVs by launching new schemes aimed at boosting fuelling stations.

Once the infrastructure is in place, the UK Government is hoping to encourage more than 100,000 motorists to purchase electric or hydrogen vehicles, having extended its plug-in grant.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie