Hyundai's Nexo accounted for almost 55% of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market in the first quarter of this year. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor
SEOUL, May 12 (UPI) -- South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor accounted for almost 55% of the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle market in the first quarter of this year, according to business tracker SNE Research.
Hyundai's first-quarter sales of its hydrogen fuel-powered model Nexo increased 19.8% from a year ago. As a result, its market share rose from 47.7% to 54.6%, according to Thursday's report.
Japanese carmaker Toyota's Mirai took second place with a market share of 24.1%, followed by China's leading truck maker Foton and Chinese bus producer King Long.
Compared to electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles have not shown as much success in garnering customers for the eco-friendly market, but the sector has been expanding at a solid pace.
The sector's annual sales passed 20,000 for the first time last year, and in the first quarter of 2023 increased another 4.5%.
Automotive powerhouses from around the globe are drawing up their own plans to fast-forward development of hydrogen vehicles to compete with the sector leader Hyundai.
Japan's Honda revealed that it was joining hands with General Motors to develop hydrogen fuel cell systems, while Toyota said it would be introducing more new models later this year.
BMW Group showed off a prototype of the iX5 Hydrogen. The German corporation unveiled its goal of increasing the mileage of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles while reducing their price to be competitive with EVs.
"My belief is that eventually hydrogen vehicles will become the go-to option for larger-size vehicles. But they still have a long way to go because there are so many challenges," Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.
"For example, it is too expensive to set up hydrogen stations. We also need to improve the way to access eco-friendly hydrogen fuels. Once these problems are dealt with, motorists might start to buy hydrogen cars en masse," he said.