Hyundai will reveal a compact concept car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell at next year's Geneva motor show, and it will provide clues as to the design direction that Peter Schreyer intends to pursue for the brand.

Schreyer is the man behind the acclaimed design revolution at Hyundai affiliate Kia.

A year ago he was appointed president and chief design officer of the entire Hyundai group and is now working on establishing the future design direction of Hyundai so the Geneva concept car, called Intrado, is the first indication of what that might be.

"It will be a statement for the brand in terms of design and technology," he said. "It will be powered by a new and more compact hydrogen fuel cell and feature advances in lightweight materials and aerodynamics. Our future cars will be lighter, cleaner and more efficient."

Schreyer said Intrado is "not a sheer design exercise or expression of styling but more like a research project."

Hyundai has committed to producing 1,000 fuel-cell versions of the ix35 up to 2015 to demonstrate that the technology works and is feasible for everyday use as long as there is a refuelling infrastructure. But Intrado will show that fuel cells can be a realistic option for smaller cars.

"It's a lifestyle car, but I don't want to put it in any kind of box," said Schreyer. "It's a vision of where I want to take Hyundai design."

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