Hyundai Motor has succeeded in localizing all the parts manufacturing technologies required for the Tucson Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered SUV, which has started mass production in 2013.
The nation's largest carmaker announced on Sept. 14 that it has successfully developed the technology to manufacture a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which is used in an electric battery. Accordingly, Hyundai Motor has localized all fuel cell EV parts. The MEA is a core fuel cell part equivalent to the engine cylinder of an internal combustion engine. However, Hyundai has imported all its parts from overseas manufacturers.
According to Hyundai Motor, the Hyundai Eco Friendly Vehicle R&D Center has successfully localized the MEA-related technology, including the design and establishment of the MEA production process, after a decade of research. A unit of the MEA costs nearly 16 million won (US$13,531). Once it is localized, the production cost of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be about 2 million won (US$1,691) less.
A company spokesman said that the price of the vehicle will not go down immediately, though Hyundai Motor has localized its fuel cell EV part technology. This is because the company currently sells the fuel cell vehicle at 85 million won (US$71,882), which is lower than the manufacturing cost of some 100 million won (US$84,567), in order to expand the infrastructure for eco-friendly vehicles.
However, the price of the vehicle will steadily go down in the future, with the success of mass production of its core parts, said a company spokesman. At the early stage of mass production in 2013, the price of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles stood at 150 million won (US$126,850). However, it has been decreasing to nearly 100 million won (US$ US$84,567) now, as the company has expanded the part localization percentage.