Hyundai winds down development of new fuel cell
Just days after Hyundai announced that it is shutting down its internal combustion engine development team, the company is also pushing the pause button on its hydrogen car project. The company was developing its third-generation fuel cell at luxury brand Genesis. But the South Korean economic newspaper Cosun unveiled that the project has now been stalled.
Only a few months ago, the Korean carmaker had presented a hydrogen road map, which showed that its latest fuel cell would go into production by 2025. Compared to the second generation, which features in the current Hyundai Nexo, the focus was much more on lower production costs and reducing the price by half. Hence, making the fuel cell smaller but more efficient than the previous one.
It seems that the company has concluded that the stringent objective can’t be met, to which it responded by reorganizing the involved team and reducing the role of the hydrogen department.
Reboot remains unclear
According to the original plan, that team was supposed to be working on the third-generation fuel cell for four years to come. Whether Hyundai will reboot the program remains unclear.
Together with the national government, the Korean car manufacturer wants to prepare for a hydrogen society with a significant role for the energy carrier in mind by the end of the decade. But the questionable feasibility of hydrogen cars has come to the attention of CEO Chung Eui-sun, following an audit.
The sales figures aren’t great. The ambition of the Korean government was to have 80 000 hydrogen cars on the road by the end of 2022. As for now, only a mere 20 000 have been dispatched, export included.
Catching up on those numbers would be a gargantuan task, further complicated by an expansion of the fueling infrastructure that is dragging. Only half of the projected number of stations in Korea have been built.
Projections for the commercialization of hydrogen cars remain modest, with about 3% of the global car fleet by 2030, according to the other major hydrogen player Toyota. Hyundai’s decision seems another blow for the uptake of the novelty technology.