[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor Group on June 20 said it has formed a partnership with German luxury carmaker Audi to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, in a move to take an upper hand in the alternative fuel sector.
The tie-up covers a broad range of FCEV components and technology, benefiting both brand’s affiliates, including Kia Motors and Audi’s parent Volkswagen. The multi-year patent cross-licensing agreement allows the pair to leverage collective R&D capabilities, patent licenses, with the ultimate goal of developing fuel cell cars together. The duration of the agreement has not been disclosed.
Hyundai Motor Nexo FCEV
“This agreement is another example of Hyundai’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world,” said Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “We are confident that the Hyundai Motor Group-Audi partnership will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society.”
As the initial step of the tie-up, Hyundai will grant Audi access to parts that are based on Hyundai’s know-how accumulated from the development of ix35, the world’s first FCEV, as well as latest mass-produced fuel cell SUV Nexo.
Audi, which is responsible for developing fuel cell technology in the wider VW Group, will be able to take full advantage of Hyundai’s fuel cell parts supply chain.
“On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures,” said Peter Mertens, a board member for technical development at Audi.
Hyundai hopes the partnership will cut costs to make the expensive fuel cell technology profitable, while bring widespread adoption of the FCEV in the market.
In March, Hyundai launched Nexo in Korea, with plans to roll it out in the global market this year. Audi revealed its first hydrogen-powered vehicle h-tron quattro concept in 2016, with a goal to debut it in the market by 2020.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com)