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Hydrogen economy

Hyundai Motor’s Chung Euisun: Vision 2040 for hydrogen society

Hyundai’s aggressive hydrogen push is ahead of its rivals and advances its carbon-neutral target year

By Sep 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

▲ Hydrogen Wave | Hydrogen For Everyone, Everything, Everywhere

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group has set out its vision for a hydrogen society, in which the clean energy source is harnessed not just for transportation but for wider sectors across industries.

At its Hydrogen Wave global online forum on Tuesday, the automotive group presented its plans to popularize hydrogen by 2040 through the introduction of new technologies and mobility solutions.

Under its long-term hydrogen strategy, the group said it will provide fuel cell versions for all its commercial vehicles by 2028, making it the first global automaker to realize such ambitions for the commercial vehicle lineup.

“Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, workplaces and factories,” said Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun.

“The goal is to make hydrogen readily used for everyone, everything, and everywhere.”

Since the development of its first fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 1998, the group has steadily advanced its hydrogen technology by unveiling the Tucson FCEV (ix35 Fuel Cell) in 2013 and the next-generation fuel cell SUV, the NEXO, in 2018.

It also launched the XCIENT, the world’s first heavy-duty fuel cell truck, in 2020.

Graphics by Jerry Lee
Graphics by Jerry Lee

NEW HYDROGEN MOBILITY CONCEPTS

During a livestream of the online conference, the group, which includes Korea’s two largest automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., also shared its vision for future hydrogen mobility across several vehicle applications, from emergency relief and rescue to autonomous container transportation, high-performance sports cars and a heavy-duty vehicle, the H Moving Station, equipped with charging facilities for FCEVs.

Among new future mobility concepts unveiled on Tuesday is the Trailer Drone, a hydrogen-powered container transportation system capable of operating autonomously. The vehicle runs more than 1,000 km on a single charge, according to Hyundai.

The trailer sits on the fuel cell “e-Bogie,” which enables “unprecedented” maneuverability through sideways movement, it said.

The group also showcased a concept hydrogen-powered hybrid sports car, named the Vision FK. With a maximum output of over 500 kW and a 600 km range, the Vision FK concept can accelerate from zero to 100 km per hour in less than four seconds, according to Hyundai.

Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung in front of the Trailer Drone, an FCEV concept
Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung in front of the Trailer Drone, an FCEV concept

THIRD-GENERATION FUEL CELL SYSTEM

To achieve this, Hyundai said it will introduce its third-generation fuel cell system by 2023 with its production cost cut by half, the package volume reduced by 30% and power output doubled.

Through this, the automaker said it aims to lower fuel cell electric vehicle prices to comparable levels to those of battery EVs by 2030.

The group also plans to develop a 5- to 7-meter fuel cell purpose-built vehicle (PBV) to target the global light commercial vehicle market projected to grow to 7 million units a year by 2030.

“By developing advanced technologies and innovative systems, as well as encouraging close cooperation between the public and private sectors across the globe, it is possible to make this sustainable vision a reality for all,” said Chairman Chung.

Hyundai's next-generation fuel cell system
Hyundai's next-generation fuel cell system

HYDROGEN COUNCIL

As the country’s big conglomerates unite to facilitate the shift toward a hydrogen economy, Korea’s top 10 conglomerates have agreed to launch the  Korean version of the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative, on Sept. 8.

The consultative body, tentatively named the K-Hydrogen Council, will be co-chaired by Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and POSCO Chairman Choi Jeong-woo.

The industry-wide push comes as tougher global environmental regulations on carbon emissions are driving governments and private companies to embrace the hydrogen economy, which utilizes hydrogen as a fuel for heat, hydrogen vehicles, energy storage and long-distance energy transport.

Hyundai's new concept mobility solution, the Rescue Drone
Hyundai's new concept mobility solution, the Rescue Drone

According to the global Hydrogen Council, hydrogen will account for 18% of global energy demand by 2050 with a market size of $2.5 trillion by then.

Write to Byung-Uk Do and Sang-Yong Park at dodo@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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