Hyundai to sell hydrogen-powered car at home

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Hyundai to sell hydrogen-powered car at home

Hyundai Motor said yesterday that its fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which is powered by hydrogen, will be affordable for the general public by 2020, as Korea’s largest automaker begins selling its Tucson ix FCEV on home turf.

Hyundai said yesterday that it plans to sell 40 FCEVs in Korea this year, 15 of which will be delivered to the Gwangju city government in June. For now, sales will be limited to government offices because of the car’s high price of 150 million won ($144,360), but the automaker expects that it will be commercially popular starting in 2020.

“We hope to sell more than 10,000 units of FCEV in Korea by 2025,” Kwak Jin, who heads Hyundai’s domestic sales division, said yesterday at a press conference at Hyundai Motor Group University’s Mabuk Campus in Yongin, Gyeonggi. “Although there will be limited sales for the moment, we expect it to be publicly popular in 2020.”

Hyundai has been developing its FCEV since 1998, and it finally completed a mass production line for the FCEV last year, becoming the world’s first automaker to do so.

So far, sales have been limited to European nations that have been pushing environment-friendly policies.

With water as its only emission, the third-generation Tucson ix FCEV is equipped with a 100-kilowatt fuel-cell stack and 700-bar hydrogen storage tanks. According to the company’s own test results, it can hit 160 kilometers per hour (99.4 miles per hour) and travel 415 kilometers on a single fueling.

Hyundai acknowledged that the Tucson ix FCEV is prohibitively expensive for normal customers, even with a government subsidy of 60 million won. But the company said the price will drop in the future as technology develops and supply increases. To lower the cost, Hyundai said it has been pushing for localization of production with some 200 suppliers.

Hyundai also said that hydrogen charging is a problem. There are only 11 hydrogen charging stations in Korea and two 700-bar hydrogen charging stations will be added this year, Hyundai said. The company is pinning its hopes on the Ministry of Environment, which plans to provide 10 more hydrogen charging stations by 2020 and 200 stations by 2025.

In preparation for FCEV sales in the coming decade, Hyundai said it plans to establish FCEV repair units at its service centers in Seoul, Gwangju, Daejeon and Ulsan this year.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]


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