VW Group turns to Hyundai-Kia for fuel cell technology
Hyundai-Kia and the Volkswagen Group will work together on hydrogen fuel cells. Audi will lead the cooperation that includes all Volkswagen brands and Kia. In a first step, they agreed to cross-license patents and on access to non-competitive parts.
The deal at hand is to help both Hyundai as well as Audi to accelerate the development and to “achieve attractive cost structures for the breakthrough of the most systematic form of electric driving,” says Audi Board Member for Technical Development Peter Mertens.
With Hyundai being ahead, the first phase will see Audi get access to components used in the ix35 Fuel Cell and Nexo, Hyundai’s serial FCEVs. This includes access to Hyundai’s entire value chain for said components.
Audi is leading the development of fuel cell technology for all of Volkswagen. The Group’s Fuel Cell Competence Center is located at the Audi Neckarsulm site. The brand plans to launch its first fuel cell vehicle early in the next decade as an SUV and is currently working on the 6th generation. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai however already focuses on the next development stage intended for a serial FCV. A small series is due in 2020.
Only a week ago, Audi reportedly also extended their joint programme with Ballard, Hymotion, for another 3.5 years until August 2022. The extension is valued between 62 and 100 million dollars. Ballard is focusing on the development and production of fuel cell stacks of the next generation for usage in the Audi FCV demonstration program.
Audi introduced the h-tron range first in 2016 and has since been working on getting the hydrogen fuel cell technology closer to being market-ready but has never launched any of their concept vehicles.
Meanwhile, another coalition for fuel cell development has just come to an end. Daimler, Ford and Renault-Nissan were working on commercialising a fuel cell car but have now all pulled out. The partners had aimed to develop shared components but decided to focus on electric cars first.