ECCI test drives state-of-the-art hydrogen car.

14 September 2012

The ECCI team was lucky enough to test drive a state of the art hydrogen powered electric car today.

The Hyundai ix-35 fuel cell electric car is one of only three models in the world and is in Edinburgh for the Green Fleet Scotland event.

The vehicle was powered by an on-site hydrogen refuelling station based at the Royal Highland Show centre with ITM Power HFuel. HFuel generates hydrogen by electrolysis, using only on-site water and an electricity supply. The gas is compressed, stored and dispensed on demand at high pressure.


One refuelling powers the car for around 350 miles, so the ECCI team could only take the car for a quick spin before it made its rounds to the City Chambers and back to Edinburgh airport before being transported back to Germany later this week.

ECCI's Ed Craig took charge of the driving for ECCI, he said:
"It was really strange at first because the car makes almost no noise at all. I was a bit worried a pedestrian might walk out in front of us but we got around the block in one piece! Other than that it felt very much like driving a normal car and the creators reassure me that it can go just as fast when out on the open road."

ITM Power's Charles Purkess said:

"HFuel is based on an electrolyser which means it is uniquely able to produce zero-carbon hydrogen if linked to a renewable power source or a supply of ‘green’ electricity like a wind turbine. The fuel delivered to the vehicle is then carbon-free and no atmospheric carbon emissions result from its use."

So how long before Hydrogen cars on our streets is a reality? Nigel Holmes of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association said: "There needs to be the large scale investment first to create the infrastructure that would be required to fuel vehicles - at the moment there's only one refuelling station in Scotland. But we believe there is a very considerable opportunity for the UK to achieve a major hydrogen and fuel cell economy if significant increases in R&D support are provided in accord with investments for competitors such as Japan, US and Germany."

What's next for the private car? 

Read a commentary from ECCI's Jim Hart.

A dispatch from Green Fleet Scotland

by Dave Gunn

There was an impressive range of low emissions vehicles at this years Green Fleet show at Edinburgh's Royal Highland Centre and I was torn between attending the interesting talks given in the conference sessions and the opportunity to test drive some of these new vehicles.  

After a quick lunch I managed to test drive the Vauxhaul Ampera, the Renault Twizy (pictured) and the Hyundai hydrogen fuel SUV and you really can see the influence the main manufacturers are having on the development of low emissions vehicles, both in the driving experience and the range of choice from the main dealers at the show.   Why not get down to your main dealer and ask for a test drive, are they an practical option? you might be surprised.

Linked pages:

Find out more about ECCI's work with innovations in the Built Environment and Sustainable Transport on our Innovation pages.

Linked events:

Fuel Cells and CHP - Feb 2012 ECCI and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association 

Fuel Cells & Stationary Power - Aug 2012 ECCI and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association