Hyundai, Toyota vie for hydrogen leadership in China

Won Ho-sup and Lee Ha-yeon 2022. 9. 30. 12:51
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South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and its archrival Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan will vie for leadership in Chine that is poised to become the world’s biggest fuel-cell car market soon under Beijing’s aggressive hydrogen drive.

According to Chinese media and industry sources on Thursday, Toyota will begin to export its 2nd-gen Mirai fuel-cell vehicle to China later this year primarily for the Chinese car rental market and then will push ahead with local production of hydrogen cars later.

The 2nd-generation Toyota Mirai, released last year, is capable of driving up to 850 kilometers (km) on a single charge under the European test condition. Thanks to the long drive range, it has fast penetrating into the United States and Europe.

The Mirai’s driving range is longer than Hyundai Motor’s Nexo Fuel Cell that can drive 600km on average on a single charge.

As the South Korean carmaker is also actively seeking to advance into the Chinese hydrogen car market later this year, with its China-exclusive Nexo Fuel Cell with upgrades in parts and design, the two rivals’ competition to win Chinese consumers in the hydrogen car market will heat up.

Hyundai Motor last year broke ground for its first overseas hydrogen fuel-cell system manufacturing facility in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, in China. The facility dubbed HTWO Guangzhou is under construction now to have initial annual capacity to produce 6,500 fuel cell systems.

Hyundai Motor vehicles will also be eligible for China’s New Energy Vehicle (NEV) subsidy as the company won a related license.

Hyundai and Toyota’s latest announcement is largely driven by the Chinese government’s ambitious plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Under the plan, China started its bold investment in the hydrogen industry and set its hydrogen vehicle sales target for 100,000 units by 2025 and 1 million units by 2030.

Toyota Mirai
Last year, about 1,000 hydrogen-powered cars were sold in China, most of which are buses and commercial vehicles of Chinese brands.

“China as a socialist market economy has fast grown to the world’s largest EV market, outpacing North America and Europe. Under the government’s policy direction toward carbon neutrality, its hydrogen vehicle market will also be expanding faster than in the U.S. and Europe,” said an industry expert.

Under the Chinese government’s sales target, Shanghai and Beijing also unveiled their plans to expand hydrogen cars to 10,000 units on roads with 100 charging stations by 2025.

Hyundai Motor’s Nexo Fuel Cell sales more than double the sales of Toyota Mirai in the global market, but things change when excluding the record in Korea.

According to market research firm SNE Research, Nexo Fuel Cell sold total 9,300 units globally, of which 8,500 units were sold in Korea. Mirai, however, sold 5,900 units in the world, of which overseas sales amounted to 3,500 units.

On top of that, Toyota’s overall car sales in China totaled 1.94 million units last year, five times largest than Hyundai Motor.

Chinese finished carmakers also are expected to release hydrogen-fueled passenger vehicles from later this year. Great Wall Motor (GWM) will bring SUV and truck models, and SAIC Motor will unveil 10 models for the next five years.

[ⓒ Maeil Business Newspaper &, All rights reserved]

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