Hyundai drives into the Future

Since the Industrial Revolution, technology has benefited our lives but at the cost of trashing our planet's ecology. As the effects of long-term pollution are becoming virtually irreversible and increasingly detrimental, many innovative schemes are being introduced to try to combat the lethal side-effects of the technology that is so important to our modern-day existence.

To come to terms with city pollution, the car manufacturer Hyundai showed off its latest fuel cell and hydrogen powered car at the Design Museum, London on 21 October 2013. The car itself is part of Hyundai's long-term strategy to create vehicles that dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

They started producing environmentally friendly prototypes in 2000, but they had a very limited range. With their latest car, based on the ix35 SUV, it has all the features you would expect of a normal petrol or diesel car, and it now has a range of up to 400 miles that is equivalent to a tank full of petrol.

The car has two large high pressure (700bar) hydrogen tanks underneath the rear of the car, and the hydrogen gas is pumped, along with air from outside the car, to a fuel cell stack. The chemical reactions in the fuel cells generates electricity that powers the cars' 65kW (equivalent to 87bhp) electric motor, that can achieve a top speed of 100mph.

Hyundai plan to build 1,000 of these cars by 2015, and are keen to support the infrastructure that will make them viable for everyday motoring. London has a target of 60% carbon reduction by 2025 and a zero emission target for Black taxis by 2018. Very soon London should have 6 refuelling stations and it is hoped to have 65 stations nationwide with 20 in London by 2020. These will provide environmental benefits and jobs. It is hoped that as the infrastructure spreads and the benefits of the car are realised, its pricing and use will wean us away from our current polluting gas guzzlers.

To demonstrate the fuel cell car is in harmony with the environment, rather than a blight on it, the car's exhaust pipe was linked by pipes to an aquarium and a hydroponic mini-farm. This piece of design theatre, outside the Design Museum, graphically showed that the only waste emitted from the car is harmless, ecologically friendly, water.

Besides the potential of this type of vehicle, the demonstration helped underline the fact that cities can create rooftop and vertical hydroponic farms to utilise space to provide the local population with fresh and healthier food.


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