Fuel-cell interest swells for Hyundai
24 February 2015
Hyundai is reporting strong interest in its pioneering ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, with six of the Hydrogen-powered models already out with paying customers. The Korean brand also claimed if has several more interested parties, including one looking at a large-scale deal.
"We've got a dozen clients looking at the car. The majority are councils or public sector, and we've got one that is talking about buying 20," Hyundai fleet and remarketing director Martin Wilson told BusinessCar.
The company will be revealing more about the business case in the next few weeks, including more on the pricing that so far has been fiercely guarded.
"When we first brought it over it was very expensive, but Government grants and Hyundai's investment in Europe has brought that down," continued Wilson, who said Hyundai has also appointed a dedicated sustainable-fuel manager, Rob Hayles, whose job includes talking on a Government level in the UK and in Europe to help get the zero-emission fuel established, as well as working with customers.
Hyundai's UK boss Tony Whitehorn admits that the growth of hydrogen fuel station infrastructure has been slower than the company had hoped, but confirmed the brand will give "more clarity" around the vehicle's pricing later this year.
The ix35 fuel cell also creates conversations for Hyundai that it may not otherwise have had, Wilson claimed, in the same way that Nissan admits its electric Leaf model has initiated conversations with fleets that have led to sales of other models.
"The key for the product is that not only does it show that we are the leading manufacturer, but it is opening doors," said Wilson. "There is one deal pending where it virtually opens the door to a 1000-car fleet."