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Hyundai Motor partners with French gas supplier for fuel-cell EVs

Hyundai Motor sealed an agreement with France’s leading industrial gas supplier Air Liquide on Saturday to boost cooperation in the development of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, the Korean automotive giant said.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in Grenoble, a city in southeastern France, agreeing to spread the use of hydrogen fuel-cell EVs and to build more hydrogen charging infrastructure around the world.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye (center) fuels hydrogen gas into Hyundai Motor’s Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle during her visit to a research facility operated by French industrial gas supplier Air Liquide in Grenoble, France on Saturday. (Yonhap)
South Korean President Park Geun-hye (center) fuels hydrogen gas into Hyundai Motor’s Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle during her visit to a research facility operated by French industrial gas supplier Air Liquide in Grenoble, France on Saturday. (Yonhap)

Unlike conventional vehicles which run on gasoline or diesel, fuel cell cars emit only water and heat as it combines hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity to power the vehicles’ motor engine.

“We expect great synergies between Air Liquide, a competitive player in the hydrogen energy market and Hyundai Motor, the first company in the world to build a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle,” Hyundai Motor said in a statement.

Hyundai successfully produced the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2013 -- the Tucson Fuel Cell. It can travel at a maximum speed of 160 km and cover a distance of 415 km with one charge, which takes around 3-10 minutes.

Since then, the Korean automaker has been working to develop its next-generation fuel cell vehicles and to spread the use of the eco-cars globally.

In expanding its partnership with Air Liquide, Hyundai Motor said it seeks to popularize green vehicles and to promote hydrogen as a key clean energy source around the world.

The cooperative deal also comes on the heels of South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Air Liquide’s research institute in Grenoble on Saturday, a move which underscored the importance that South Korea places on liquefaction technology in driving up the use of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

“Park’s visit to Air Liquide SA is meaningful as it opens the door to facilitating technological cooperation in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and expanding their use around the globe,” senior presidential secretary for policy cooperation An Chong-bum told reporters at a press briefing.

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)
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