Audi and Hyundai Motor Group are driving the development of fuel cell technology. The two companies plan to cross-license patents and grant access to non-competitive components. The agreement is currently subject to approval from the applicable regulatory authorities. Through their collaboration, both companies aim to bring the fuel cell to volume production maturity quickly. Audi and Hyundai are also exploring more far-reaching collaboration on the development of this sustainable technology.
Long ranges and short refueling times are the main reasons why carmakers think that hydrogen is an attractive future source of energy for electric mobility. Besides further advances in fuel cell technology, key aspects for its future market success include the regenerative production of hydrogen and the establishment of a sufficient infrastructure.
The Audi h-tron was showcased in 2016
Within the Volkswagen Group, Audi AG has taken on the development responsibility for the fuel cell technology and is currently working on its sixth generation. The Group's Fuel Cell Competence Center is located at the Neckarsulm site. At the beginning of the next decade, Audi will introduce the first fuel cell model as a small series production. As a sporty SUV, the model will combine the premium comfort of the full-size segment with long-range capability. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai is already focused on the next development stage which will expand the market for both the companies.
Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi AG said, "The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future. On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures."
Hyundai revealed the Nexo Fuel Cell car recently
Audi has already been working on fuel cell concepts for almost 20 years. The first test vehicle was the compact Audi A2H2 in 2004, followed by the Audi Q5 HFC in 2008. The 2014 Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro introduced the "h-tron" suffix for models with fuel cell technology. The "h" stands for the element hydrogen. The Audi h-tron quattro concept study presented in 2016 was yet another example of the company's prowess in fuel cell technology.
"We are confident that our partnership with Audi will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society," said Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman at Hyundai Motor Company. "This agreement is another example of Hyundai's strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers' lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world."