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European officials to drive Hyundai ix35 fuel cell vehicle

The European Commission-supported Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking has selected a Hyundai ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) as a demonstration vehicle for European Parliament members and policymakers.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) will make the Hyundai ix35 FCEV available for Members of the European Parliament, Commissioners, EU officials, and other policymakers to test drive until March 2012.

The announcement came during the FCH JU-organized Joint Technology Initiatives: Innovation in Action exhibition this week in Brussels. The FCH JU invited automakers to tender for the demonstration lease in late July.

The decision moves Hyundai a step closer to the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles by 2015. The Hyundai ix35 – which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010 – features key innovations over previous-generation Hyundai FCEVs, including a 55 percent improvement in driving range, and an 80 percent reduction in manufacturing costs.

‘The announcement today complements the work we have already undertaken with other government bodies around Europe,’ says Chang Kyun Han, President of Hyundai Motor Europe. ‘By 2012 we hope to operate more than 30 Hyundai ix35 FCEVs across the continent.’

Earlier this year, Hyundai signed a memorandum of understanding with the municipality of Copenhagen to establish the necessary infrastructure for the supply and use of FCVs in Denmark.

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