Hyundai Motor Co. will increase the production of its new fuel cell electrical vehicle (FCEV) to be released early next year by 15 times. This is part of efforts to hold Toyota, which competes with the company in the hydrogen powered car market, in check and to promote fuel cell vehicles as most popular eco-friendly cars along with electric vehicles.
According to industry sources on June 18, Hyundai Motor tentatively decided to produce 3,600 units of its fuel cell car dubbed “FE” to be rolled out in February next year. Considering the fact that the company sold 242 fuel cell cars last year, the figure is a whopping 1487 percent increase, which also surpasses Toyota’s sales goal of 3,0000 units this year.
Hyundai Motor launched the Tucson ix FCEV in 2013 for the first time in the world and sold 27 units the same year. The company had sold a total of 666 units for four years until last year. The growing demand is a favorable factor but obsolescence made the model lose the battle with Toyota’s Mirai due to the early release. The Mirai sold 2,843 units until last year after it was launched in 2014.
Hyundai Motor will meet the demands which are expected to grow in the U.S., China and Europe by releasing a new FCEV next year. The Chinese government is planning to supply 5,000 FCEVs and install 100 charging stations by 2020. The California State in the U.S. and Germany will set up 100 and 400 charging stations by 2024 and 2025, respectively.
A FCEV can run more than 500 km on a single charge and can be fully charged in three minutes. So, it is regarded as a next generation environmentally friendly car that redresses shortcomings of EVs.
However, 3 billion won (US$2.64 million) worth of high costs to establish one charging station were obstacles to the spread of FCEVs. Given the conditions, the sales of FCEVs will naturally grow when the number of charging stations will increase across the world, according to industry sources. The government plans to increase the number of charging stations from the current 11 to 100 by 2020.
It also plans to supply 10,000 units of FCEVs to the market by 2020. The number of registered FCEVs in Korea stood at 128 as of May this year.