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Hyundai commits $9.3 billion to expansion of hydrogen fuel cell R&D

Hyundai's roadmap includes new facilities and expansion to other industries.

Hyundai has announced a roadmap for the future of its hydrogen-based drivetrain technologies, with a plan it dubs ‘FCEV Vision 2030’.

The plan consists of bold targets to expand production from a current 3000 hydrogen fuel-cell units to 500,000 by 2030. 

Hyundai says this can be achieved through expanding hydrogen fuel-cell supply to manufacturers of cars, drones, ships and forklifts.

The brand says by 2030 this will mean the equivalent of AU$9.3 billion will have been invested in FCEV research and development, with 51,000 jobs created. Hyundai bases some of these figures on findings by the Hyrdogen Council (of which Hyundai is a member) that demand for FCEV systems will "increase tenfold" by 2050.

Hyundai also used the announcement to reveal that its fuel-cell manufacturing division Hyundai Mobis has just broken ground on its second fuel-cell manufacturing plant in South Korea. Hyundai is currently the only company with facilities dedicated for hydrogen fuel-cell production on a commercial scale.

This follows an announcement in June 2018 that Hyundai has partnered with Audi to "leverage collective R&D capabilities" for the development of FCEV technology. 

Despite significant investment, so far only two vehicles have been produced running on the Korean giant’s hydrogen fuel cell technology, the ix35 FCEV and its successor, the Hyundai NEXO

A handful of NEXO SUVs roam Australia's streets, supported by just one refueling station. A handful of NEXO SUVs roam Australia's streets, supported by just one refueling station.

While the NEXO is available for purchase in its home country of South Korea, only a handful of pre-production vehicles exist in Australia, on Hyundai’s fleet for testing purposes. Australia has just one permanent hydrogen refuelling station in Macquarie Park, Sydney.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology produces power through converting hydrogen and air into electricity and water. Only water vapour exits the vehicle allowing it to be emissions-free.

Do you think Hydrogen fuel-cells will rise alongside plug-in EVs in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.