Hyundai Motors has reportedly signed a deal with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy and fuel cell operators to sell 1,000 hydrogen-powered trucks in Switzerland, according to a statement made by the South-Korean company on September 19, 2018. Following a new tie-up, Hyundai will be selling these hydrogen-powered trucks over the next five years. It also expressed with confidence that the vehicles could overpower battery-powered models sold by the likes of Tesla Inc.
Hyundai Motors hopes to enhance its brand image by taking the lead in hydrogen cars. Amid the global race to develop greener technologies to replace combustion engines, South Korea’s Hyundai and Japan’s Toyota are among those few car manufacturers who have started focusing more on hydrogen vehicles to produce fewer car emissions.
The deal is expected to double Hyundai’s hydrogen vehicle sales. Hyundai plans to launch these vehicles by the end of 2019, ahead of the battery-powered trucks that Tesla and Daimler plan to introduce in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Hyundai had announced a partnership with Audi in June with plans to share each other’s hydrogen car technology and components for relatively lower production costs and more profitable technology.
Mark Freymueller, a commercial vehicle director at Hyundai Motor, reported to Reuters that Hyundai’s hydrogen trucks are expected to deliver a single-fueling travel range of around 400 kilometers, which is advantageous over battery trucks with heavy batteries that reduce cargo capacity and require longer charging times.
“We are not planning just purely 1,000 vehicles and then stop the business… We expect that much more is coming afterwards,” he said. Furthermore, Freymueller declared that Hyundai’s targets for launching these vehicles are the United States, China, and other European countries. He additionally emphasized the necessity of finding partners such as pump operators and hydrogen suppliers to expand into other markets.
A hydrogen car, the uptake of which is driven by fuel-cells-generated electricity, costs 3 billion won ($2.7 million) in South Korea. A lack of infrastructure is mainly why the uptake of hydrogen cars in the country has been held back.
In 2013, Hyundai launched the industry’s first mass-produced hydrogen car Tucson Fuel Cell, followed by NEXO in 2018 with a sale of about 1,140 fuel cell vehicles so far.