Hyundai is preparing a fuel cell electric crossover bound for the United States in 2014. Kwon Moon-sik, Hyundai Motor Group's president of r&d, remarked during a recent media event here, that cost factors are pointing the South Korean carmaker towards hydrogen-powered vehicles instead of battery-run ones, in which a number of carmaker say the potential for economies of scale are starting to dry up.
"There is no problem with the technology, only with the cost and profitability," Kwon said regarding battery EVs. He remarked that Hyundai cannot make a profit with battery EVs. He remarked that the advanced lithium ion batteries used in modern EVs are still costly, noting that there a few opportunities for cost cutting. Kwon remarked that hydrogen fuel cells offer more chances for volume savings.
His comments underscore the growing focus of the auto industry towards hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, which have only water as the waste product.
Carmakers like Toyota, Honda, Daimler, General Motors, Ford and Nissan, as well as Honda, are considering rolling out more hydrogen-powered vehicles between 2015 and 2020. Some carmakers even have echoed Hyundai's statements over the potential for falling costs for such vehicles.
In July this year, GM and Honda entered into collaboration to develop a common fuel cell system to cut development costs for the technology as well as to consolidate their component supply base to help make the powertrains for such vehicles more affordable. Toyota, meanwhile, has said that the fuel cell vehicle to be rolled out in 2015 will cost around $50,000 to build, thanks to manufacturing efficiencies gained by producing 5,000 to 10,000 units annually.