Hyundai Motor pushing hydrogen in Seoul

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Hyundai Motor pushing hydrogen in Seoul

Hyundai Motor is working with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to boost sales of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles and beef up the city’s hydrogen infrastructure.

Korea’s largest automaker signed an initial agreement Wednesday with the capital city to install more hydrogen fueling stations and replace Seoul’s commercial vehicles with hydrogen-powered ones.

The agreement would expand on Seoul’s original goal of supplying more than 4,000 hydrogen-powered cars and setting up more than 15 fueling stations by 2022, which the city announced during a forum in October. The company said the latest agreement does not cover the number of new vehicles or refueling stations that would be ultimately produced.

Hyundai Motor also hopes to expand from its original goal of providing more hydrogen-powered choices for regular automobiles, as well as targeting the commercial vehicle market.

Hydrogen has been touted by some as the next-level energy source as global authorities have been applying restrictions on the use of fossil-fuel vehicles.

Hydrogen cars take longer to charge than electric vehicles but can provide longer travel distances. Some experts have pointed to the possibility of using the eco-friendly energy source in operating commercial vehicles instead of passenger ones.

Hyundai Motor, which is relatively behind other global automakers in the race to develop electric vehicles, has instead turned its attention toward the hydrogen-powered vehicle market, with the support of the Korean government. It has been signing agreements with authorities and other auto companies to develop and supply more hydrogen batteries and vehicles.

Under the latest agreement, Hyundai Motor and Seoul will install more hydrogen fueling stations for commercial vehicles. At the moment, there are three hydrogen fueling stations in the city, with one at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul, and the other two in Seocho District, southern Seoul, and Mapo District, western Seoul.

Hyundai Motor said installing new fueling stations will allow more hydrogen-powered cars to be used for commercial operations throughout the city. The company said it will provide discounts for its hydrogen-powered buses and passenger cars while enhancing services for users.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to provide additional subsidies and tax benefits for hydrogen-powered vehicle owners.

The municipal government vowed to prioritize replacing its old commercial vehicles with hydrogen-powered ones and will begin using hydrogen-powered buses for public transportation.

Hyundai Motor added the company and the city government will set up a joint committee to carry out the goals promised in the agreement.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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