Hyundai Motor will become the first manufacturer to mass produce hydrogen-fueled cars, it announced at its plant in Ulsan on Tuesday.
The company said it will roll out hydrogen-fueled Tucson ix sport utility vehicles and aims to sell 1,000 units overseas.
"Global automakers such as GM, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota are seeking to start mass production of hydrogen-fueled cars after 2015. We are two years ahead of them," it said.
It is unlikely to see the cars at home, though, as demand is low given the high price of around W100 million (US$1=W1,078) each and the fact that there are only 13 fueling stations in the country.
The car will include a fuel cell stack in the 100 kW class and a tank of compressed hydrogen at 700 Bar. It will travel up to 594 km on a single charge, the company claimed.
Hydrogen-fueled automobiles boast only moderate fuel efficiency and are outmatched by models like Toyota's gasoline hybrid (40 km/l) and Volkswagen's diesel hybrid (100 km/l).
Yet Hyundai says its new model will be able to outlast the 100 km range of a typical electric car by five or six times. The company also expects efficiency to improve once production begins.