Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) spew water vapor. FCEV enthusiasts are likely hoping that the head of fuel-cell research at Hyundai isn't just spewing hot air.

Hyundai's Lim Tae-won said electric-vehicle makers like Nissan started mass-producing models such as the Leaf too early and are hurting mass acceptance of EVs because there isn't a sufficient vehicle charging infrastructure in place to support broad sales. Specifically, Reuters reports, he said:

"It was a hasty approach. The battery electric cars may have helped raise brand value for a couple of years, but ended up slowing down the take-off in the market."

The Hyundai executive also said that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will become price competitive with battery-electric vehicles sometime between 2020 and 2025, and that FCEVs will become preferred to battery-electric vehicles for the reasons we've all heard before: FCEVs can go about as far as a conventional fossil-fueled vehicle on a full tank – roughly four times a most fully charged EVs. FCEVs also don't emit greenhouse gas emissions.

At the Paris Motor Show earlier this week, Hyundai said that it will make the first mass-produced FCEV. This will be the ix35 (it's the Tucson in the U.S.) fuel-cell crossover and will be available to the public for lease by the end of the year. Through 2015, Hyundai says it will make about 1,000 ix35 FCEVs, which have a full-tank range of about 365 miles.

Earlier this week, Hyundai said it would lease 15 ix35 FCEVs to the city of Copenhagen, which is looking to become "carbon free" by 2025.

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