Audi and Hyundai have joined forces to co-develop fuel cell technology. The two companies plan to cross-license patents and grant access to non-competitive components.
The agreement is currently subject to approval from the applicable regulatory authorities. Through their collaboration, both partners aim to bring the fuel cell to volume production more quickly and efficiently.
“The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future,” said Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. “On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures.”
“We are confident that our partnership with Audi will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society,” said Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman at Hyundai Motor Company. “This agreement is another example of Hyundai’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world.”
Long ranges and short refueling times make hydrogen an attractive source of energy for electric mobility. Besides further advances in fuel cell technology, key aspects for its future market success include the regenerative production of hydrogen and establishment of a sufficient infrastructure.
Within the Volkswagen Group, Audi has taken the development responsibility for the fuel cell technology and is currently working on its sixth generation. The Group’s Fuel Cell Competence Center is located at the Neckarsulm site (featured photo). At the beginning of the next decade, Audi plans to introduce the first fuel cell model as a small series production. The company said that the sporty SUV will combine the premium comfort of a full-size segment with long-range capability.
The cross-license agreement with Hyundai is already focused on the next development stage intended for a broader market offer.
Audi has been working on fuel cell concepts for almost 20 years. The first test vehicle was the compact A2H2 in 2004, followed by the Q5 HFC in 2008. The 2014 A7 Sportback h-tron quattro introduced the “h-tron” suffix for models with fuel cell technology. The “h” stands for the element hydrogen. The h-tron quattro concept presented in 2016 further demonstrated the brand’s technology competence in fuel cell drive systems.
Also read: Hyundai NEXO fuel cell vehicle