Hyundai to invest RM 28b to boost fuel-cell output

By BLOOMBERG

SEOUL • Hyundai Motor Group and its suppliers plan to spend 7.6 trillion won (RM28.01 billion) through 2030 to raise production of fuel cells by more than 200- fold as the South Korean automaker targets to become a key player in the new energy vehicle technology.

The world’s fifth-largest auto group — with Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp under its umbrella — said yesterday it will boost annual production capacity of fuel-cell systems to 700,000 units from 3,000 now, and create 51,000 jobs over the next 12 years.

The spending proposal reaffirms Hyundai’s faith in the future of a technology that’s been derided as “mind-bogglingly stupid” by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, which makes battery-powered cars.

Fuel-cell technology, which has been championed by Toyota Motor Corp as an alternative to the conventional internal combustion engines, involves hydrogen- powered vehicles that emit only water vapour.

Hyundai has South Korea’s backing in its bets. The government plans to roll out 4,000 fuel-cell electric vehicles on the road next year, a fivefold increase, with an aim to establish 310 hydrogen stations in South Korea by 2022.

The automaker has been wanting to bring its fuel-cell electric vehicles to China and exploring options to utilise hydrogen-powered cars for a mobility service.

The group held a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to build its second fuel-cell system factory in Chungju, South Korea.