Hyundai throws down gauntlet to US and China fuel cell rivals

Plans to have 50 hydrogen-powered Xcients in Europe this year just the start

Hyundai throws down gauntlet to US and China fuel cell rivals
An Xcient Fuel Cell rigid


Hyundai Motor Company’s quest to wrest heavy duty hydrogen fuel-cell crown from US entities is making another surge – into the competitor’s back yard.

Not ignoring the Americans’ greatest rival, Hyundai has designs on China as well.

The word comes as South Korea’s finest delivers the first seven units of its Xcient Fuel Cell, "the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck", to Swiss customers, with a total of 50 hitting the roads there this year.

It marks the official entry of Hyundai’s commercial vehicles in the European market, "a touchstone for the company’s expansion into the North American and Chinese commercial markets".

"The delivery of Xcient  Fuel Cell starts a new chapter not only for Hyundai’s hydrogen push, but also the global community’s use of hydrogen as a clean energy source," Hyundai Motor executive vice president and head of commercial vehicle division In Cheol Lee says.

"Today’s delivery is just a beginning as it opens endless possibilities for clean mobility. With successful delivery of the first Xcient Fuel Cell trucks, we proudly announce our plan to expand beyond Europe to North America and China where we are already making great progress."

Production capacity is expected to reach 2,000 units per year next year to support its expansion into Europe, the US and China as demand for clean mobility grows.

The increase in capacity will be backed by a US$1.3 billion (A$1.8 billion) investment in addition to a previously announced US$6.4 billion (A$9 billion) stake in establishing a hydrogen ecosystem to support creation of a hydrogen society.

"In the US, Hyundai is collaborating with logistics leaders to supply mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty trucks," the company says.

Hyundai revealed the fuel cell-powered HDC-6 Neptune Concept Class 8 heavy-duty truck at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show last October, hinting at what the future holds and Hyundai’s plans for it.

Read what Hyundai said about its Neptune concept a year ago, here 


To back this plan, Hyundai says it is partnering with companies to build a complete hydrogen value chain covering everything from hydrogen production and charging stations to service and maintenance.

The North American market is to also get a 6x4 prime mover model. By 2030, Hyundai expects more than 12,000 fuel cell trucks to be on the US roads.

Hyundai notes it is also working with various parties in China, which aims to get 1 million hydrogen vehicles on its roads by 2030 as the country’s hydrogen industry is on a sharp growth trend, creating massive potential.

Initially, it aims to focus on China’s four major hydrogen hubs: Jin-jin-ji, Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong Province and Sichuan Province. It is currently discussing cooperative initiatives such as a joint venture with local partners.

Three fuel cell electric trucks are scheduled for launch in China: a medium-duty truck in 2022, a heavy-duty truck in in a couple of years, and another heavy-duty truck strategically designed for the China market.

With these models, Hyundai’s goal is to achieve aggregate sales volume of 27,000 units by 2030.


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