This morning at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, South Korean automaker Hyundai has announced its intentions to begin series production of a hydrogen fuel-cell electric car. 

Based on the i35 compact crossover SUV, sold in the U.S. as the Hyundai Tucson, the ix35 Fuel Cell will be built from December this year at Hyundai's Ulsan facility in Korea. 

Between then and the start of 2015, the automaker has said it will produce 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell cars, which it intends to offer for lease to public and private customers.

Beyond 2015, Hyundai has said it is aiming for a production goal of 10,000 units, similar in number to Toyota and Honda’s own production estimates for hydrogen fuel cell cars

With a claimed economy and range improvement of 10 percent over its previous generation prototype ix35 Fuel Cell, Hyundai says the production version of the ix35 can travel around 365 miles per tank of hydrogen. 

Hyundai ix35 Fuell Cell Vehicle

Hyundai ix35 Fuell Cell Vehicle

It also uses the same lithium-ion battery pack found in the current 2012 Sonata Hybrid, as well as start-stop technology. 

In this context, it means the car can shut down the fuel cell stack and rely on battery power alone when sitting at stop lights or moving in slow traffic.

Hyundai hasn’t said if the ix35 will make it to the U.S. any time soon, or mentioned a lease or retail price for its first production fuel-cell vehicle. 

Given price estimates for other fuel cell vehicles due to launch around the same time, however, don’t expect it to be particularly cheap.

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