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Hyundai plans hydrogen fuel-cell for commercial models by 2028

With an aim to release most of its new commercial vehicles as all-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric models, Hyundai Motor Group plans to apply the hydrogen fuel-cell system to all of its commercial vehicle models by 2028, the company said in a statement. The company aims to increase the ratio of electrified vehicles to 80 percent by 2040 in global sales.

The group, comprising of Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp has one fuel cell bus and one fuel cell truck, the Xcient Hyundai, on the market.

Hyundai and its 124 suppliers have earmarked 7.6 trillion won (US$6.7 billion) in hydrogen fuel cell electric car-producing facilities and related R&D activities by 2030. South Korea's top automaker is trying to take a leading position in the hydrogen-powered vehicle market.

"The hydrogen system will be gradually installed in all of Hyundai's trucks, buses and other commercial cars by 2028. Some of the hydrogen-powered models will also be available as pure electric versions," a company spokesman was quoted as saying.

Interestingly, Hyundai also becomes the first carmaker to announce its plans to replace all of its combustion engine-based commercial vehicle models with electric ones.

The company also plans to explore new business opportunities for hydrogen fuel-cell systems to mobility solutions, such as trains, ships and urban air mobility (UAM) and also homes, buildings and plants.

All-electric and hydrogen electric models currently account for only 1.5 percent of Hyundai's global sales, and it initially aims to raise the ratio to 30 percent by 2030.

Hyundai Motor also plans to add two new models to expand the hydrogen-powered passenger vehicle lineup to three from current sole model Nexo.

According to a McKinsey report, the production costs for hydrogen energy would be halved within the next 10 years, helped by the rapid development of hydrogen-related technologies.

It also said using hydrogen for transport and other industries could reduce carbon emissions by 6 billion tons every year and create 30 million new jobs by 2050.

In the January-July period, Hyundai sold a total of 5,300 units of hydrogen vehicles, beating its archrival Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which sold 4,100 and 200 units, respectively, during the same period.

Hyundai's hydrogen car sales jumped 44 percent in the first seven months from 3,600 units a year earlier, while Toyota's jumped eight times from 500 units.

Hyundai aims to sell 4.16 million vehicles this year, 11 percent higher than the 3.74 million units it sold last year.