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Hyundai to provide 1,000 fuel cell trucks to Swiss company

All Headlines 12:04 September 20, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's biggest carmaker by sales, said Thursday that it has signed an initial agreement with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy to provide 1,000 fuel cell electric trucks.

The deal with the European company will mark the world's first full-fledge commercialization of zero-emission trucks, the carmaker said.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the two sides will provide the heavy-duty fuel cell trucks and an adequate supply chain for renewable hydrogen from 2019 through 2023.

Hyundai said the fuel cell electric truck is under development to meet European regulations. It said the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) can travel about 400 kilometers on a single charge in real-life driving conditions.

Hyundai Motor's Executive Vice President Lee In-cheol, who heads the commercial vehicle division, said Hyundai is advancing the field of fuel cell technology with the announcement of its ambition to commercialize the fuel cell electric truck for the first time in the world.

"We will continue to seek opportunities for expanding into other markets by carefully monitoring multiple factors, such as fueling infrastructure and governmental policies," Lee said in a signing ceremony at the IAA Commercial Vehicles, an international exhibition for commercial vehicles, in Hanover.

A rendering of Hyundai's hydrogen fuel cell truck to be launched next year (Yonhap)

A FCEV only emits water vapor as it converts stored hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle's motor.

Global carmakers have been racing to go eco-friendly amid tightened regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are to blame for global warming.

H2 Energy said it plans to make Hyundai's fuel cell electric trucks available to its Swiss customers starting with members of the Swiss H2 Association, which includes several refueling-station operators, retailers and other customers focusing on eco-friendly solutions for logistics and goods distribution.

"A sustainable hydrogen economy needs a designated ecosystem for hydrogen. This is why our collaboration between Hyundai Motor, H2 Energy, the Swiss H2 Association, and the Key electricity producer Alpiq in Switzerland is strategic and makes a lot of sense," H2 Energy Chairman Rolf Huber said in comments posted on the company's website.

FCEV powertrain technology has advantages over battery electric powertrain technology in its applications for larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses. Fuel cells save space and reduce weight, as well as being more cost efficient to apply as the vehicle size increases.

Hyundai said it plans to diversify its fuel cell electric commercial vehicle lineup to meet growing opportunities. Currently, Hyundai is developing a medium-sized fuel cell electric truck for public services, such as cleaning.

Hyundai Motor, the world's first mass-producer of fuel cell vehicles, has exported its hydrogen fuel cell versions of its popular Tucson iX SUV, also known as ix35 fuel cell, to 17 countries.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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