Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group presented a new strategy to commercialize and popularize hydrogen fuel cell technology this week, rivalling General Motors’ own hydrogen fuel cell expansion plan.
Hyundai presented its strategic vision for hydrogen fuel cell technology during the Hydrogen Wave global online forum on Tuesday. The automaker’s hydrogen commercialization plan will kick off with the introduction of its next-generation fuel cell system in 2023, which will be offered in both 100kW and 200kW variations. This new fuel cell will reduce costs by 50 percent, reduce package volume by 30 percent and double the usable power output of its hydrogen vehicle offerings. The fuel cells modules can also be stacked and combined to create 500 kW or 1000 kW systems, for example.
Hyundai already offers a hydrogen fuel-cell production vehicle in the way of the NEXO crossover and is the manufacturer of the world’s first heavy-duty fuel cell truck, the XCIENT Fuel Cell, which was introduced in 2020. The automaker also put its new hydrogen-powered Elec City Bus into trial service in Munich earlier this year and has plans to deploy the bus to additional markets in the coming years. These vehicles use the automaker’s second-generation hydrogen fuel cell system, which is costlier to produce and not as compact as the upcoming third-gen system.
Hyundai says hydrogen fuel cells can be used for a wide variety of vehicles, including urban air mobility, robots, aircrafts and large ships. It’s exploring using these technologies in the energy sector, as well, where they could help to provide heat and electricity to buildings.
Finally, the automaker has also tested hydrogen fuel cells in high-performance electric vehicles and presented a performance full concept this week called the Vision FK. With a maximum output of over 670 horsepower, the rear-wheel-drive Vision FK concept can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds and has a usable range of more than 372 miles.
General Motors presented its new Hydrotec fuel cell cubes earlier this year. GM is marketing its fuel cell modules to transport truck companies mainly and has entered a partnership with Navistar to develop an eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cell truck. Like Hyundai’s new system, GM fuel cell cubes could also be used in city busses, ships, trains and other heavy applications that may not be suitable for battery-electric powertrains.