Hyundai's hydrogen cars gain popularity in Europe
By Kim Yon-se, The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
September 12, 2012, 11:58 am TWN
SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor's futuristic technology in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle sector has highly been acknowledged in more and more European countries.
Following its recent advancement into Scandinavian countries, Hyundai Motor has been picked as a business partner for German environmental organizations' hydrogen automobile project.
As the initial supply for the project, the Korean carmaker is poised to provide the country with dozens of the hydrogen fuel cell Tucson ix, a sport utility vehicle, in the coming months.
"It is an epoch-making point that Hyundai and Kia obtained the opportunity to introduce its technology for hydrogen and fuel cell batteries in Germany — the center of the European auto industry," a Hyundai executive said.
The Tucson ix may be the world's most commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Its price is likely to range between 90 million won (US$80,000) and 100 million won, half the price of Mercedes-Benz's hydrogen-powered car.
A year and a half ago, Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors also signed a deal with the German government to take part in the country's government-led Clean Energy Partnership.
Hyundai Motor Group is expanding its business collaboration with European countries to boost the carmaker's supply of environmentally friendly vehicles.
Following a pact between Hyundai and the governments of four countries — Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland — in early 2011, the automaker signed a memorandum of understanding with a Norwegian firm on green car supply in Seoul in May 2012.
Under the MOU, Hyundai and Norway-based large-scale battery-recharging operator Hydrogen Operation, or HYOP, agreed to coordinate the supply of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles across Norway.
"That was the first time that we signed a pact on green cars with a private enterprise in Scandinavia," a Hyundai spokesman said.
He said the company is also seeking to sign such MOUs with firms in three other Scandinavian nations.
During the MOU signing event in central Seoul, HYOP CEO Ulf Hafseld predicted that the bilateral collaboration will pave the way for Norway to become a leading logistics base in the eco-friendly vehicle sector.
He stressed that Norway holds the world's top-level infrastructure in the hydrogen fuel cell-recharging sector.
In May 2011, Hyundai test-drove its fuel cell vehicles in cities such as Stockholm and Oslo.
In Denmark, the Tucson ix crossed from east to west — about 340 kilometres — on one charge in cooperation with local hydrogen station operator H2 Logic. Prior to the test drive, Hyundai signed a partnership with H2 Logic and FCV distributor Hydrogen Link.
In March, Hyundai and Kia were named two of the world's most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly carmakers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, outperforming rivals such as Toyota Motor.