Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Hyundai Motor Group plans to develop hydrogen fuel versions of all its commercial vehicles by 2028, the automaker said Tuesday.
Euisun Chung, chairman of HMG, announced the hydrogen fuel plans as part of its sustainability plan to shift everything to hydrogen energy by 2040 during the South Korean automakers' Hydrogen Wave conference after showing a hydrogen trailer drone in video.
"In particular, we will proactively respond to climate change through our hydrogen solutions starting with the commercial vehicle sector which emits relatively large amounts of carbon dioxide," Chung said. "Going forward Hyundai Motor Group will launch all our new commercial vehicles such as buses and heavy-duty trucks as hydrogen EVs and battery EV's in the global market."
"By 2028, we plan to become the first global automaker to apply fuel cell system to all commercial vehicle models," Chung added.
Hyundai started to develop a hydrogen fuel cell car in 1998. Albert Biermann, HMG president in charge of research and development, said during the conference that progress since then has included debuting a Tucson fuel cell electric vehicle in February 2013, and in 2018, a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell SUV, NEXO, ranked as the FCEV with the most sales worldwide.
Last summer, Hyundai launched the XCIENT fuel cell truck in Switzerland, with 45 such trucks currently on the road, avoiding an equivalent of over 130 tons of carbon dioxide per month, Biermann added.
The Seoul-headquartered motor group is also developing a tractor based on XCIENT fuel cell, which will be released in 2024, he continued.
Other uses for hydrogen fuel cell include high performance-vehicle application, Biermann pointed out, including the hydrogen sports car prototype, the Vision FK, which accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in less than four seconds.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy has cited a number of challenges to widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including expense, durability and reliability.
"The current infrastructure for producing and getting hydrogen to consumers cannot yet support the widespread adoption of FCVs," the department said on its website.
Saehoon Kim, executive vice president and head of the fuel center at HMG, said during the conference that Hyundai aims to "achieve a fuel cell vehicle price point comparable to battery electric vehicle by 2030," for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Kim added that the durability of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be improved "in the near future," through "using better materials, engineering and operation technologies."
Hyundai is one of several large companies testing out the hydrogen fuel cell market despite obstacles, CNBC reported. Others include BMW Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota and Honda.