Top Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai-Kia will begin low-volume production of at least one fuel cell vehicle within the next two years. Though it is still not known whether the vehicle will be a Hyundai or a Kia, it will definitely be a hydrogen-powered version of an existing model.
“There are already agreements between car makers such as ourselves and legislators in Europe, North America and Japan to build up to the mass production of fuel cell cars by 2015. Hydrogen production capacity and refueling infrastructure will be improved.”, said Byung Ki Ahn, GM of Hyundai-Kia”s Fuel Cell Group.
Ahn said that the early production fuel-cells will not be fully commercialized, as they will probably only be available for lease and not purchase, but that it will help the company in establishing their commercial production operation of 10,000 units per year starting in 2015.
The group has been developing its current fuel-cell technology since 2005 and has advanced immensely. The pride of the group’s hydrogen den is the Kia Borrego FCV, which was finished in 2008. It has a cruising range of 460 miles and operational life of approximately 10 years. Since 2004, 90% of the typical material cost has been cut from the power source.
Though no price has been suggested as of yet, Ahn says that Hyundai has a strong chance of producing the cheapest hydrogen vehicles of the next decade. He said that Toyota, which recently announced the expectations of building a $50,000 fuel-cell sedan, will have to produce 50,000 units a year to meet their price range. He is confident that Hyundai-Kia can beat that.
– By: Stephen Calogera