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Hyundai Motor, Audi team up on cells

Hydrogen-powered vehicles prompt a few global partnerships
June 21,2018
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Hyundai Motor’s latest FCEV model, the Nexo [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
Hyundai Motor signed a partnership with German premium automaker Audi to share technology licenses related to fuel cell vehicles, the Korean automotive company announced Wednesday.

The alliance will allow the automakers to share auto parts, technology and patents related to fuel cell powertrains in the promising sector.

Audi is in charge of developing fuel cell vehicles within the Audi Volkswagen Group and the result of the two companies’ cooperation will be shared throughout the German auto group, which has more than 10 brands.

According to industry insiders, Audi sent a request to Hyundai Motor to form an alliance because there are few auto companies in the world that possesses original technology related to fuel cell powertrains.

Believing that fuel cell powertrains will ultimately replace internal combustion engines, Hyundai Motor started its investments in fuel cell vehicles in 1998.

It was the first company in the world to make mass-produced fuel cell vehicles in 2013.

“The partnership with Audi will be a turning point in the global fuel cell car industry, vitalizing the market and creating an innovative industry ecosystem,” said Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group in a release.

“Hyundai Motor has been banking on the possibility of fuel cell powertrains being a solution to environmental, energy supply and resource shortage problems,” he added.

Hyundai Motor and Audi will share licenses related to fuel cell vehicles that have already been approved or are scheduled to be approved based on the agreement announced Wednesday.

“Cross licensing will prevent controversy over the ownership of technologies that are found commonly these days,” Hyundai Motor said.

Hyundai Motor will also share core auto parts developed by Hyundai Mobis with Audi to boost the business of its auto parts affiliate, which announced its transformation into a future mobility-focused company early this year.

Hyundai Mobis, which is trying to supply automakers other than Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, holds core technologies for parts required in fuel cell vehicles. Its parts are in the Tucson ix FCEV, the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle in the world, which came out in 2013, two years earlier than a vehicle produced by Japanese rival Toyota.

Hyundai Mobis supplied eight types of auto parts for Hyundai Motor’s latest fuel cell model, the Nexo, such as the fuel cell module and battery.

Hyundai Motor also expects such sharing with Audi will allow other midsize auto parts companies to supply global automakers.

Global automakers have been forming partnerships, even though they are rivals, to speed up the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Honda has been collaborating with GM and Toyota with BMW.

“We are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai,” said Peter Mertens, board member of Audi’s technical development team. “For a breakthrough in this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovation.”


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]