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Hyundai Motor forms alliance with Audi for fuel cell cars

Hyundai Motor forms alliance with Audi for fuel cell cars

Posted June. 21, 2018 07:52,   

Updated June. 21, 2018 07:52


South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group has joined hands with Germany’s Audi AG to occupy the global market for hydrogen-powered electric vehicle. The alliance between Hyundai, which has succeeded in mas-producing fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) vehicles for the first time in the world, and the world’s largest automotive group is expected to create synergies of expanding their sales of hydrogen-powered cars and achieving technological advances.

Hyundai Motor Group has signed a technological cooperation agreement with Audi AG on a broad range of FCEC components and technologies. Hyundai said the deal would enable the two automakers to have “overwhelming” technological superiority over competitors in the field of hydrogen vehicles and expand their global the base globally.

Audi is in charge of FCEV-related research and development projects within the Volkswagen Group. The Hyundai-Audi deal applies to all brands within the Volkswagen Group, meaning that key components developed by Hyundai can be used on hydrogen cars made not only by Volkswagen and Porsche but also on trucks and buses manufactured by Scania and MAN, which are also members of the German automotive group. Hyundai is capable of mass-producing not only hydrogen-powered passenger cars but also hydrogen-powered buses.

”The agreement would become a turning point in creating an innovative industrial ecosystem” as well as invigorating the hydrogen-powered vehicle market,” said Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman at Hyundai Motor. He has been showing confidence every time he was asked if he thought it was a right decision to invest in hydrogen vehicles. During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada in January, he said that both electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen cars can grow together because EVs are more efficient in short-distance travels while hydrogen cars are better for covering long distances. “The more advanced autonomous vehicle technologies grow, the more electric power will be required for the vehicles. Hydrogen vehicles are the right ones,” he said.

Peter Mertens, board member for technical development at Audi, noted that hydrogen vehicles are future technology with high potentials. “On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners, such as Hyundai” he added. “For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures.”

Experts say that the agreement serves the interest of both countries, as Hyundai needs to expand its FCEV sales channels, while Audi needs to speed up its mass-production of hydrogen-powered cars. “This cooperation is very encouraging in that, through a deal with Audi, Hyundai has paved the way for having greater influence in the global car market at a time of lacking domestic infrastructure and lackluster government support,” said Lee Ho-geun, a professor of automotive engineering at Daeduk University.

The Hyundai-Audi alliance has clearly defined the global competition for FCEV market. The partnership will also likely heat up competition with other global auto alliances between Toyota Motors and BMW and between Honda and GM. Toyota and BMW are seeking to jointly develop a commercial FCEV platform by 2020, while Honda and GM aims to produce fuel cell systems for hydrogen-powered cars at GM’s U.S. plants from 2020. The Renault-Nissan alliance is cooperating with Ford and the Daimler Group to develop FCEVs.

Woo-Shin Han hanwshin@donga.com