Honda Motor Co. will jump into the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market, which is dominated by Hyundai Motor Co. and Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., starting next year.
According to industry sources on Nov. 1, Honda unveiled the Clarity, a hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, opening with the press day on Oct. 28. Its first FCEV can travel over 700 km per full hydrogen charge, exceeding the efficiency of existing FCEVs on the market.
Toyota, which has been mass-producing the Mirai fuel-cell sedan from Dec. last year, debuted the Lexus LF-LC fuel cell concept car at the motor show. Also, Toyota’s FCV Plus made its first global premiere. As Honda has also entered the FCEV market, following Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. has announced the development plan to mass-produce FCEVs in 2017.
An official from Hyundai Motor remarked on these developments by saying, “At the present moment when people are growing more and more interested in green cars due to the recent diesel emissions cheating scandal, we are welcoming that more companies are getting into the market of FCEVs, which infrastructure and models are less developed than electric vehicles. For FCEVs, we think that it is better to secure more technologies, develop new models, and prepare for infrastructure expansion, rather than selling more cars in a few years.”
Hyundai Motor is planning to release two new FCEV models, following the Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2020, which is considered to be the first year of FCEVs in the industry.
The company also has a technology-producing fuel cell stack, the main component of FCEVs. Leading global automakers asked Hyundai’s Mabuk research center whether they can be supplied with the product. It means that the company has laid the foundation for its own technology to lead the parts market as well as fully-built vehicles.
On Oct. 15, Hyundai Motor President Chung Jin-haeng met U.S. Department of Energy officials to discuss measures to successfully establish infrastructure for FCEVs. This is largely due to the trust of the U.S. government. At the meeting, the two parties talked about the popularization of FCEVs, including the expansion of Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell validation program and establishment of relevant infrastructure.