The Korea Herald reports that unnamed sources say that Hyundai Motor has decided to lower the price of the Tucson fuel cell sport utility vehicle (earlier post) to compete with Toyota Motor’s Mirai fuel cell car (earlier post).
“Hyundai Motor recently informed Gwangju City, a major local buyer of the Tucson FCV, of its internal decision to cut the car price,” an industry insider close to the matter said on condition of anonymity last week. … “Hyundai Motor made the move, pressed by Toyota’s fast move to create a market for its first fuel cell car Mirai, armed with bargain-price,” the insider said.
Gwangju City, which purchased five Hyundai FCVs last year, has a plan to buy 10 more Tucson FCVs this year for use during the Gwangju Summer Universiade in July, the newspaper reported.
Hyundai’s Tucson FCV is priced at the equivalent of $139,000 (excluding subsidies) in Korea; Toyota’s Mirai FCV is priced at the equivalent of $62,000 (excluding subsidies) in Japan.
The Korea Herald said that Hyundai has so far sold only 200 units of the Tucson FC—and of those, only 10 in Korea—mainly because of the expensive car price. In Korea, according to the report, the government subsides $55,700 per Tucson FCV unit, meaning that individual Korean consumers still have to pay $83,500 to buy Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered car. Toyota, on the other hand, has already reported orders approaching 1,500 units for the Mirai. (Earlier post.)
Another thing holding back sales in Korea of the Tucson FCV is the lack of hydrogen fueling stations, which is key for creating a market environment for the car. Korea has only around 10 stations nationwide. The Ministry of Environment, which is in charge of building the fueling infrastructure, plans to increase the number of stations to 200 by 2025. Japan is moving faster than Korea in this sector as well. According to the Japanese government’s long-term road map for a “hydrogen society,” about 100 hydrogen fueling stations will be installed this year in major Japanese cities.
“It is time for Hyundai Motor and the government to sit down together to discuss a strategic approach toward rising completion for fuel cell cars,” Kim [Phil-soo, automotive engineering professor at Daelim University] said.