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Hyundai Freezes Third-Gen Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV Development

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Korean automaker Hyundai is rumored to be closing down both its hydrogen fuel-cell EV (FCEV) development and its combustion-engine development divisions.

If true, the moves would mean Hyundai and sister company Kia have moved all-in on battery electric power for all future models beyond the life cycle of their current combustion engines.

Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo wrote this week that an internal audit at Hyundai insisted it would never meet its cost targets on FCEVs, despite coming just months after the automaker presented its Hydrogen Vision 2040 plan.

Hyundai is one of just three automakers with current FCEV passenger cars, with its Ioniq and Nexo joining the (recently discontinued) Honda Clarity and Toyota’s Mirai.

While Hyundai won’t completely abandon the FCEV development, the higher cost structure is likely to push it towards the Genesis premium brand, if it has a future anywhere in the group.

Genesis was already slated to launch a flagship FCEV limousine in 2025, but that could be shelved or at least delayed.

The production version of September’s Vision FK concept coupe, with its 500kW powertrain, 600km of range and sub-four second 0-60mph times is on a definite backburner.

Insiders have suggested that the lack of marketability of FCEVs was a bigger problem for Hyundai than either technical difficulties or the well-publicized issues the fuel has with infrastructure.

The number of workers on the fuel-cell R&D division at Namyang has been “greatly reduced”, with Hyundai moving engineers across to EV work.

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