Hyundai working in hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles

on Sep 7, 2021
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  • Hyundai is developing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles
  • Hydrogen fuel cell technology has several applications
  • There are several challenges to deal with to bring the technology mainstream

Hyundai Motor Group (KRX: 005380) wants to produce hydrogen fuel cell versions of their commercial vehicle models by 2028, with a “next generation fuel-cell system” to be introduced in 2023.

The South Korean automaker said its goal was to “achieve a fuel cell vehicle pricing point comparable to a battery electric vehicle by 2030.” This goal applies to both commercial automobiles and passenger cars.

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Hyundai, which is headquartered in Seoul, has years of experience in the industry after developing its first fuel-cell car almost two decades ago. In 2021, the company unveiled XCIENT Fuel Cell, a heavy-duty commercial vehicle, and in 2018, Hyundai launched NEXO, a fuel cell SUV.

Hyundai to produce two versions of hydrogen fuel cell cars

Hyundai stated its next-generation fuel-cell system would be available in 100 kW and 200 kW versions of cars “with costs being lowered by more than 50%, total package volume reduced by 30% and power output doubled.”

Hydrogen, dubbed a “versatile energy carrier” by the International Energy Agency, has a wide range of applications and can be used in industries and transportation. For example, fuel cells use hydrogen’s chemical energy to generate electricity, which is then used to power vehicles.

Although there is a lot of promise regarding hydrogen fuel cell technology’s potential, there are several challenges to the hydrogen technology that need to be overcome if the cars are to develop into a mainstream alternative for drivers.

For instance, the US government indicates that there are several challenges with the technology ranging from fuel cell’s reliability and durability to the cost of the vehicles. It adds, “The current infrastructure for producing and getting hydrogen to consumers cannot yet support the widespread adoption of FCVs.”

Automobile companies ramping hydrogen fuel cell initiatives

Hyundai is among the several automobile companies working on hydrogen fuel cell solutions for the transport sector despite these challenges.

Recently BMW stated that it had commenced piloting cars using hydrogen fuels cell drivetrain. The company described the technology as having the “Long term potential to supplement internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems and battery-electric vehicles.”

Also, in June, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it was developing a prototype for a hydrogen fuel cell electric car. The Tata Motors-owned company said that the hydrogen fuel cell EVs were “complimentary to battery electric vehicles … on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions.”