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Hyundai to proceed with hydrogen fuel cell project

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Hyundai Motor's hydrogen truck, the Xcient / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor's hydrogen truck, the Xcient / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

By Kim Hyun-bin

Reports said Hyundai Motor Group will drop its project to move forward with the production of the Genesis hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which caused hydrogen car-related stocks to fall. However, industry officials said Friday that the country's top automotive company won't abandon the development of hydrogen FCEVs.

According to local reports, the research project of the 3rd-generation hydrogen fuel cell, set to be installed in the Genesis hydrogen car, did not reach its development goals. They said that the Genesis hydrogen vehicle-development project has been temporarily delayed, and as a result, the role of the fuel cell department was significantly reduced through organizational restructuring and personnel management last month.

Investors reacted negatively to the reports, with Sang-A Frontec dropping 12.86 percent, Iljin Hysolus, a hydrogen tank maker and affiliate of Iljin Group, also falling by 9.87 percent, along with Hyosung Advanced Materials declining 6.94 percent, and Unique falling 4.69 percent, Doosan Fuel Cell dropping 4.59 percent, and Kolon Industries falling 3.84 percent retreats, respectively.

"The hydrogen FCEV project has not been halted but rather delayed, as it encountered some difficulties during research, but Hyundai has been and will continue to develop hydrogen FCEVs," a Hyundai Motor official said.

Although it is true that Genesis hydrogen car development has been delayed, the outlook is favorable in the automobile industry.

"The reason Hyundai and Toyota are making their first investments centered on passenger cars is that they are an intermediate process for achieving the systematization of materials and parts development and mass production. There might be some small tweaks in the process, but they will have minimal impact on the overall hydrogen FCEV growth plan," Han Byeong-hwa, a researcher at Eugene Investment & Securities, said.

Thoughts were that it was only a matter of a difference in the speed of project developments as support for hydrogen vehicles continues with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality in other countries, including China and the United States.

"China is strongly supporting hydrogen cars following electric vehicles. The US will inject government funds into hydrogen cars as well as the hydrogen industry from next year. The European Union (EU) countries also made it mandatory to install hydrogen charging stations every 150km on major roads," Han added. "Hydrogen cars are in an early stage, like electric vehicles were 10 years ago. It is necessary to consider future growth rather than economic feasibility at this point."


Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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