Hyundai And Kia Betting On Fuel Cells As The World Goes Electric

As automakers embrace electric vehicles, the future looks increasingly bleak for fuel cell vehicles such as the Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai.

Despite this, the Hyundai Motor Group has unveiled a new long-term plan which embraces fuel cell vehicles and aims to “accelerate the development of a hydrogen society.”

Called FCEV Vision 2030, the plan calls for Hyundai and Kia to become leaders in hydrogen technology and dramatically increase production of hydrogen fuel cells. The Hyundai Motor Group has ambitious plans and aims to produce 700,000 fuel cells annually by 2030. 500,000 of them are destined for fuel cell vehicles, while the remaining 200,000 units are slated to be used in drones, forklifts and seafaring vessels.

The company expects demand for fuel cell vehicles will significantly increase in the future to around 2 million units by 2030. In order to meet this anticipated demand, the Hyundai Motor Group and its suppliers will invest approximately $6.7 (£5.3 / €5.9) billion into the research and development of fuel cells as well as the expansion of plants that build them.

In a statement, Hyundai Motor Group executive vice chairman Euisun Chung said “We will expand our role beyond the automotive transportation sector and play a pivotal role in global society’s transition to clean energy by helping make hydrogen an economically viable energy source.” He added, “We are confident that hydrogen power will transcend the transportation sector and become a leading global economic success.”

It remains to be seen if fuel cell vehicles will become a success, but Hyundai announced plans to improve the fuel cell system that is used on the Nexo. The company also held a groundbreaking ceremony for its second fuel cell plant in South Korea. It will allow Hyundai Mobis to increase fuel cell production from 3,000 units annually to 40,000 units by 2022.

  • Mr. EP9

    I actually welcome this. I can definitely see enough room for both EVs and FCVs in the future. We all know as technology develops the cost for both will come down as well as the infrastructure needed to support them will continue to spread. I’m not sure how long it will take but we’ll get there eventually.

  • Momogg

    That’s great, there is no future for electric cars, in ten years il will be finished or forbidden. Hydrogen sounds good, if I should buy a green car it will be a fuel cell. But it’s very expensive. 70000€ for a Hyundai Nexo, no thanks? 🤔 Mirai and Clarity are not really pretty…

    • Dude

      “there is no future for electric cars” Lmao good one my dude

    • Mike anonymous

      I AGREE,.. BUT not completely. We will still have electric cars a number of years from now. Where you are right is that ‘battery powered’ EV’s will not be around in the future (as it’s literally technology that was being used in the early 1900’s) and it overall is not great for the environment etc.

      Where I believe you are wrong though, is in “EV”s themselves will no longer exist. EV’s will in the future likely run on things such as water (which they already have vehicle that do, but the only problem is infrastructure). Take a look at NanoFlowCell (who may not be producing vehicles, but has been working on similar technology to this).

      So EV’s will exist in the future, but it won’t be the kind of EV’s we have today.

      • Momogg

        Look what happened un France, in 1990’s the government said everyone should buy diesel because gazoline is unhealthy, it’s dangerous blablabla… In 1990 the part of diesel cars was 30%, in 2010 it was 70% and today it’s around >50% because they are doing everything against diesel. Now government says everyone should buy EV because diesel is unhealthy…and because of global warming. Well.

        In the end we are just consumers and everything is business. In 10-20 years they will find something else instead of EV.

        But you are true, electric cars will be more efficient with new technologies, and I hope with more powerful batteries, we will see.

    • khc

      “…there is no future for electric cars” – Fuel cell vehicles ARE electric vehicles. Whether using batteries or fuel cells, the vehicles still use electric motors for propulsion.

  • Jim Jones ©

    Hydrogen fuel cells make more sense than batteries, they give identical flexibility that ICE cars give us now….fill it and drive. The infrastructure and production of hydrogen at the required levels are the current hurdles to cross, solve those and the transition from oil is complete.

    Good night Riyadh…..and not before time.

    • Jim Jones ©

      As a side note: Fuel Cell by products are nothing but water vapor, I wonder if the boffins have considered what effect it would have on the planet exclusively populated with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles … “Global Wetting”?

    • tkindred

      Pure electric cars are more efficient than fuel cell cars. It will be interesting if fuel cells gain traction. Both are much better than ICE.

      • Jim Jones ©

        The success will be determined by the market, Australia and Africa for instance will most likely choose Hydrogen fuel cell over electric because of their vast unpopulated areas with no electrical grid system. 500 kilometres between towns is just a short hop in those environments EV’s are useless at current ranges and charging times.

        • Alex

          Not quite so. While Australia does have large distances, the vast majority of our population lives in a handful of fairly dense urban areas. This by the way is why hybrid electric vehicles have been very successful here. While there is a requirement for long distance roadside infrastructure, its mostly limited to very few arterial connections. Hydrogen may have a role in the long distance cargo hauling market though.

    • EM1

      Hydrogen motor is not connected to batteries?

  • Dude

    FCVs and EVs are both great but which technology improves in convince and infrastructure first will determine if this is a good bet or not. Real Engineering made a great video on this “The Truth about Hydrogen”

    • Mike anonymous

      When it comes to fuel powered (electric or petrol) powered vehicles, infrastructure is key. Funny thing these infrastructure (such as for FCVs) actually exist and are (no-where near the scale of Oil, but for what it is,) quite large,.. but they are barely known about (meaning most customers (or even people in general) wouldn’t know that the infrastructure exists).

      Anyways & Either way “infrastructure is key” Dude,. Well said.

  • Astonman

    I guess not many people sat through the video Dude gave…So instead of getting your electricity straight from your house that can go straight into the battery of their car, they will have someone use that same electricity making a fuel that they will pay waaaay higher because it takes more electricity to make it so they have to charge you for it, plus in most cases, they will have to ship it to a location you have to go get it at. Scenario #1, you’re paying wholesale. Scenario #2 you’re paying retail.

  • MarketAndChurch

    The only hope we have for electric cars at this point is future breakthroughs in nuclear energy technology.

  • Patrick Bong

    I wish Hyundai would stop trying so hard to be Toyota.

  • Craig

    I still see [in my crystal ball] an ICE breakthrough.

  • Paul

    I have a feeling we are going to end up with a future having both and the better one will dominate and overtake the other which will be waiting for a recharge by gov’ts.

  • EM1

    Elon Musk doesn’t believe hydrogen is the future. Hydrogen needs an infostructure ASAP to convince the world it is a useful resource. I really like Hyundai’s effort with this project as it shines light on alternative innovation. People won’t agree on the $60,000 price tag.

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