Toyota isn't the only automaker that's heavily pushing for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs). Hyundai is too, and they're just as serious. The Korean automaker recently invested USD 1.1 billion for two new hydrogen fuel cell system plants in their home country. The said facilities will help the automaker accelerate the growth of its hydrogen business and help secure a larger market share.

The two new plants, located in Incheon and Ulsan, will begin producing hydrogen fuel cell systems in the 2nd half of 2023. Once fully operational, the two facilities are expected to produce 100,000 hydrogen fuel cells annually. It will join Hyundai's current Chungju plant, which currently produces 23,000 hydrogen cell systems a year.

“Despite uncertainties including COVID-19, we have decided to make this large-scale investment to secure the market-leading competitiveness in the global fuel cell industry. We will continue to invest more in facilities and strengthen our R&D capability for the development of the hydrogen industry and expand the ecosystem,” said Sung Hwan Cho, CEO and president of Hyundai Mobis.

Hyundai is going all-in on hydrogen power image

Once construction of the new plants is complete, Hyundai plans to expand its product lineup and further diversify its hydrogen business. According to the company, the majority of the fuel cells produced are used in automotive applications, specifically hydrogen FCEVs. However, they also intend to tap into new markets such as construction machinery and logistics equipment.

Last year, Hyundai Mobis already developed fuel cell power packs for hydrogen forklifts, opening up the possibility for entry into the construction machinery sector. This time, the company says they are developing power packs for hydrogen-fueled excavators. Later on, Hyundai adds they plan “to enlarge the fuel cell systems for small air mobility”. Yep, Hyundai-powered hydrogen fuel cell planes are coming.

While most automakers are going battery-electric, Hyundai seems to be one of the few looking at hydrogen power to propel electric cars. Do you think they're making the right move or is pure battery-electric the only way to go?