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Hyundai to begin mass producing hydrogen fuel cars this week

In a milestone event for both the automobile and technology industries, Hyundai has announced plans to start mass producing hydrogen fuel cell cars starting this week.

The move is part of an effort by the company to spearhead the development of zero-emission vehicles, and is the first time ever that such technology will be mass produced.

"We expect to realize an environmentally friendly era more quickly through the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell cars for the first time in the world," said Hyundai vice chairman Kim Eok-jo.

He also said its fuel-cell cars can run 594 kilometres before needing to refuel. Hyundai will begin rolling out hydrogen-powered versions of its Tucson ix SUV at its Usan plant in South Korea starting this Friday, and hopes to sell 1,000 models across the world by 2015.

The technology, if widely adopted, could decrease the consumption of conventional fuels by internal combustion engines, thereby lowering emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.