A white ix35 fuel cell vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the company's Ulsan manufacturing complex as Hyundai claimed to have become the world's first car manufacturer to begin assembly line production of zero emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles for fleet use.

"With the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future," Hyundai Motor vice chairman, Eok Jo Kim said at a ceremony. "The ix35 Fuel Cell is the most eco-friendly vehicle in the auto industry and proves that hydrogen fuel cell technology in daily driving is no longer a dream."

There are 17 ix35 fuel cell vehicles destined for fleet customers in Copenhagen, Denmark and Skåne, Sweden. Copenhagen, as part of its initiative to be carbon-free by 2025, will be supplied with 15 for fleet use, according to an agreement announced in September 2012. Two will be supplied to Skåne.

"Assembly-line production of fuel cell vehicles marks a crucial milestone in the history of the automobile industry not just in Korea, but throughout the world," Mang Woo Park, mayor of Ulsan city, said in a congratulatory message. "By supplying more hydrogen refuelling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles produced, we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles."

Hyundai plans to build 1,000 ix35 fuel cells by 2015 for lease to public and private fleets, primarily in Europe, where the EU has a hydrogen plan and begun construction of hydrogen fuelling stations.

After 2015, with lowered vehicle production costs and further developed hydrogen infrastructure, Hyundai will begin manufacturing fuel cell vehicles for consumer retail sales.