Electric cars? Hyundai thinks the future is in hydrogen

Electric cars? Hyundai thinks the future is in hydrogen

The South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai currently only offers a few hydrogen cars in its fleet. But this is set to change in the coming years, since the company is planning to start manufacturing hydrogen cars.

The South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has announced its plan that it's calling "FCEV Vision 2030". Instead of betting on electromobility like many other manufacturers, the company is stepping up its commitment to hydrogen cars and wants to become the world market leader in this field.

The announcement states that 500,000 fuel cells will be built annually for vehicle use by 2030. Around 200,000 further hydrogen cells are to be produced annually for commercial vehicles such as forklifts and excavators as well as ships. Overall, Hyundai wants to achieve a market share of 25 percent.

"The Hyundai Motor Group, the worldwide pioneer of commercial production of FCEV, is taking a bold step towards the realization of a hydrogen society. We will extend our role beyond the car transport sector and play a key role in the transition of global society to clean energy by helping to make hydrogen an economically viable source of energy. We are confident that the supply of hydrogen power will grow beyond the transport sector and become one of the world's leading economic successes".

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Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group. / © Hyundai

The company will invest the equivalent of around 7 billion dollars in research and development and the construction of new factories in the coming years. This is expected to create 51,000 new jobs by 2030. The fuel cells will mainly be used in Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles, but will also be sold to competitors including Toyota, Honda and Daimler.

Models that are suitable for everyday use and freely available for sale are already on the streets.

At the beginning of the year, Hyundai introduced Nexo, the second generation of its FCEVs (Fuel Cell Vehicles). Compared to first-generation vehicles from 2013, such as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV, the new models are lighter, offer more space in the driver's compartment and better energy conversion.

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The hydrogen fuel-cell in the Hyundai Nexo. / © Hyundai

Compared to electric cars with batteries, hydrogen cars can be refueled much faster. With a large tank it is also easier and cheaper to achieve more range than with a battery of comparable size.

There are, however, even fewer filling stations for hydrogen vehicles than there are for electric vehicles. For this reason, experts see the future of hydrogen technology in local urban transport, such as in buses, taxis and small delivery vehicles.

Hydrogen, electric, or a classic combustion engine? What's your favorite and which system will lead the way in the future?

Source: Hyundai

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  • Sorin Dec 13, 2018 Link to comment

    Hydrogen as a fuel has only one advantage: burning only results in water!
    But its storage in cars is made with special, expensive tanks at very high pressures, and the entire hydrogen supply is therefore extremely expensive, because it has to be very precise. The burning of hydrogen is done in a combustion pile, another expensive item, then the electric power produced is used to drive the electric motors. This whole component chain is expensive, because it has to work at very high parameters. It was a lot easier to put a bigger battery to supply direct electric power to electric motors.
    A very big problem is also that of hydrogen stagnation in distribution stations, as well as the transport of hydrogen from hydrogen plants to distribution stations. Everything is expensive.
    Even if electricity is much easier to transport (!), Even at very large distances, there is already an existing power supply infrastructure, the only thing that needs to be improved is the performance of the accumulators used in cars.
    The future is guaranteed in favor of using electricity, because the other solutions are currently only a compromise between performance and total cost.

  • storm Dec 12, 2018 Link to comment

    Probably not the future unless hydroelectrolysis gets cheaper. The fuel cell uses electricty to split hydrogen from water. Then it is recombined in the fuel cell. You get more distance driven per kilowatt just using batteries than the extra losses electrolysis adds to a hydrogen system. Fuel cells have a place in our energy future, but it isn't likely to be mainstream without some new breakthroughs.