Hyundai has teamed up with an unlikely bedfellow to help expedite a hydrogen future.
The Korean automaker on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco, the national oil giant of Saudi Arabia, in a bid to build hydrogen fueling infrastructure in Korea and Saudi Arabia.
The agreement also covers the joint exploration of future automotive technologies, including the potential use of non-metallic materials, such as carbon fiber and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, in mass-produced cars.
2019 Hyundai Nexo, Topanga Canyon, CA, Oct 2018
Although Hyundai is developing battery-electric cars, the automaker sees an opportunity for hydrogen-powered cars, specifically fuel cell-electric cars, for long-range travel. The automaker already offers a fuel cell-electric car in the form of the Nexo SUV, and part of the agreement deals with expanding awareness of the vehicle in the Korean and Saudi Arabian markets.
As for Saudi Aramco's role in the deal, most hydrogen today is sourced today from natural gas, which Saudi Aramco is a major supplier of.
“The collaboration of Hyundai Motor and Saudi Aramco will accelerate progress toward a hydrogen society by expanding access to a robust hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell electric vehicles,” Euisun Chung, Hyundai's executive vice chairman, said of the deal. “Both businesses are leaders in the hydrogen value chain, and our collaboration will support global action for a better, more sustainable future, while exploring future automotive businesses and technologies.”