Orders for Hyundai Motor’s hydrogen cars are on the rise both at home and abroad, offering a ray of hope to the Korean auto giant that is suffering from sluggish sales.
According to the South Korean government, a total of 5,000 hydrogen cars will be in operation in South Korea in 2020. At present, 466 hydrogen cars are in operation in the country. Hyundai Motor produced the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, Tucson ix, in 2013. But the vehicle has failed to gain popularity due to their high prices, low government subsidies and a shortage of charging stations.
These days, however, Hyundai's hydrogen cars have begun to win popularity. For example, 62 Tucson ix taxis are now operating in Paris, France. The city has installed hydrogen charging stations in the downtown area. France recently signed a contract with Hyundai to purchase 5,000 hydrogen cars by 2025.
Last month, the company concluded a contract with H2Energy, a Swiss energy company, to supply of hydrogen-powered van trucks. A total of 1,000 units are scheduled to be exported until 2023. Hyundai is likely to become the world’s first hydrogen-powered truck exporter.
Earlier, Hyundai decided to produce 3,680 units of the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV this year. This model has a maximum driving range of 609 km, approximately 40 percent longer than that of the Tucson ix. For reference, the Toyota Mirai’s maximum driving range is 502 km.
Under the circumstances, the popularity of hydrogen-powered cars is increasing in South Korea, too. A total of 746 such cars are going to be supplied in the country this year, yet more than 2,000 people registered during the presale period.
Ulsan City is planning to supply 67,000 hydrogen cars until 2030 and this amount is equivalent to 15 percent of the cars in operation in the city. Every bus in the city is going to run on hydrogen starting from 2035 with a lot more charging stations installed. Gwangju and Changwon are going to supply 5,000 and 311 hydrogen electric cars by 2022 and 2020, respectively.
The hydrogen cars of Hyundai are expected to have a positive effect on the South Korean automotive industry as well in that almost 99 percent of the parts have been developed domestically.