The Hyundai Motor Group, based in South Korea, is one of few automakers that offer fuel cell vehicles on the market. In mid-June, it announced that it would support Audi’s work in the field and both corporations have since signed an agreement about cross-licensing patents. The contract expressly mentions the group companies that are part of the endeavor.
Besides Hyundai, the agreement also names Kia Motors, which belongs to the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, and Audi’s parent company Volkswagen, which now has access to fuel cell components from the ix35 Fuel Cell and Nexo models. The main goal of all involved is an increase in the sales of fuel cell electric vehicles, or FCEVs for short.
The capacity of Hyundai’s factory in Chungju, South Korea, currently stands at 3,000 fuel cell powertrains a year but can be increased to produce tens of thousands of units if the market demands it.
“The fuel cell has the best cost-benefit ratio to power electric vehicles […]. Partnerships are a sensible option to make breakthroughs and lead the pack at attractive costs – and bring this sustainable technology to market.”
Peter Mertens, head of technical development at Audi
“Part of our engine design strategy is an initial low-volume production of fuel cell cars, which will be up for sale in 2020. Hydrogen is a superb energy carrier to implement tomorrow’s ideas for electric transportation.”
Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi
“If, after 2025, we get to around 100,000 units a year – which is entirely possible for a large corporation such as Volkswagen – expect the price for fuel cells to drop to about a third or fourth.”
Nikolai Ardey, head of powertrain development at Audi
“We believe that the partnership between Audi and the Hyundai Motor Group gives us a chance to successfully demonstrate the benefits of fuel cell vehicles on a global scale.”
Euisun Chung, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Co.
“We take our role as pioneers of fuel cell vehicle development very seriously. Our intent is to provide as many as people as possible with access to this clean and efficient means of transportation.”
Markus Schrick, formerly chief executive of Hyundai Motor Deutschland
Audi extends cooperation with Ballard
Shortly before news about the deal between Audi and Hyundai broke, Ballard announced that it had extended its partnership with the German automaker for three-and-a-half years. As part of the HyMotion demonstration program, Audi can now benefit from the fuel cell know-how of the Canadian business until August 2022. The contract, worth an estimated USD 53 million to USD 83 million, was signed in early June. It may mean that Audi will receive help from Ballard when introducing a small batch of fuel cell cars in the foreseeable future.