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Hydrogen-fuelled update to Hyundai ‘Strategy 2025’ smart mobility plan

Hyundai has updated its ‘Strategy 2025’ smart mobility plan with a commitment to commercialise a hydrogen-fuelled vehicle solution.

The Korean carmaker has said that it will accelerate its hydrogen ecosystem initiative by upgrading fuel cell system technology and expanding fuel cell business beyond the development of fuel cell vehicles.

While Hyundai harbours ambitions to claim a 8% to 10% share of the global EV market by 2025, it this week revealed its proprietary fuel cell system brand ‘HTWO’ and an drive to develop its next-generation fuel cell system, featuring enhanced performance and durability.

The company plans to expand application of its fuel cell system in all transportation areas such as ships, trains, forklifts and UAMs.

President and chief executive Wonhee Lee updated the ‘Strategy 2025’ plan at the ‘2020 CEO Investor Day’ forum held virtually in Seoul.

Back in January Euisun Chung, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, revealed the plan to grow the range from its current 24 alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) to 44 by 2025 - including 13 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, 23 battery electric vehicles (EV) and two fuel-cell electric vehicles - with the creation of a dedicated Ioniq AFV sub-brand.

For its Genesis luxury brand, Hyundai plans the introduction of a dedicated BEV model and a derived EV model in 2021, with an expanded presence of the brand into China and Europe aiming to build awareness of its eco-friendly credentials.

The OEM will also drive to commercialise autonomous driving technology by 2023 while pursuing development of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) based on the use Personal Air Vehicles (PAV), it said.

Today’s updated plan reiterated a push that would see Hyundai become a mobility brand and also drive forward it development of hydrogen propulsion.

It said: “With the aim of offering innovative and comprehensive mobility experiences to customers while contributing to the development of industry-wide ecosystem, the updated focuses on four major business areas—EV, urban air mobility (UAM), autonomous driving technologies and hydrogen fuel cell system.”

Speaking to AM magazine this morning, former Hyundai Motor UK president and chief executive, Tony Whitehorn, said that he believes hydrogen vehicles remain the best solution to the reduction of CO2 emissions in vehicles across the globe.

He said: “Everyone is talking about the issue of CO2, but in terms of making a vehicle battery, the amount produced is still way beyond that of an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

“An EV has to cover something like 60,000 miles before that deficit is used up.”

He added: “Absolutely, I see hydrogen fuel cell as the better long-term solution, but it’s unfortunately not going to ready for mass consumption until 2050 or 2060 in my estimation.”

Since marketing the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicle ix35 in 2013, Hyundai has been expanding its vehicle offerings powered by its fuel cell system such as Nexo SUV, XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty truck and a fuel cell electric bus, as zero-emission mobility solutions.

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