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Hyundai Motor Company and Cummins to collaborate on hydrogen fuel cell technology

Hyundai Motor Company and Cummins Inc. have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) jointly to evaluate opportunities to develop and commercialize electric and fuel cell powertrains.

These new powertrains are expected to be developed by combining Hyundai’s fuel cell systems with Cummins’ electric powertrain, battery, and control technologies. The initial development will be focused on the North American commercial vehicle market, including working with North American OEMs on the integration of these systems into their vehicles.

The companies will also explore ways they can work together to develop next-generation fuel cell systems, and have each committed to assign a team of individuals to investigate and pursue other areas of collaboration.

This partnership is a terrific opportunity for both companies to leverage our respective strengths and create new opportunities to grow and broaden the product portfolio we bring to our customers. We’ve made significant investments over the past year to accelerate our fuel cell capabilities including our acquisition of Hydrogenics and this partnership is another step forward.

—Thad Ewald, Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Cummins Inc.

With Hyundai’s global leadership in fuel cell systems coupled with Cummins’ unparalleled electrified powertrain technologies, we expect this partnership to leave a mark in the commercial vehicle market. Collaborations such as this will enable us to further diversify our business, as well as reinforce our global hydrogen leadership through sales of new and existing Hyundai fuel cell systems.

—Saehoon Kim, Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Group at Hyundai Motor Group

The partnership provides a springboard for Hyundai Motor Company to increase its presence in the North American commercial vehicle market, and Cummins to enhance its electrified power product portfolio by adding Hyundai’s advanced fuel cell technologies.

The new collaboration may extend beyond the commercial vehicle market, as the companies will also evaluate the development of fuel cell power generators. The availability of reliable back-up power generation to prevent data loss in emergency situations is a business-critical requirement for many organizations. Fuel cell back-up power generation is attractive for its reduced carbon footprint.

Hyundai Motor is a world leader in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, having opened the world’s first commercial production facility for fuel cell vehicles in 2013, and released the world’s first commercialized hydrogen-powered vehicle, the Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2015. The NEXO, Hyundai’s second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle with a range of more than 610 kilometers, is a versatile, three-row SUV that emits clean water vapor and even purifies the air while driving.

Hyundai fuel cell systems consist of fuel cell stacks which convert stored hydrogen into electricity, as well as other sub-components—collectively referred to as balance of plant (BoP)—for thermal management and air supply among other integral processes for power generation.

Cummins is a world leader in advanced powertrains and in 2018 launched its Electrified Power business segment, which designs and manufactures fully electric and hybrid powertrain systems along with innovative components and subsystems to serve commercial markets as they adopt electrification. To date, the business has introduced complete electrified powertrain solutions in six markets across seven applications and continues to launch market leading products with customers across the world.



Popular resistance to hydrogen is building in Korea after fatal explosions:


Trucks, buses, trains, ships...lots of places to use clean efficiency.


I think that Cummings will be better off in the near term concentrating on shorter range urban delivery vehicles that can run on batteries only. The shorter range urban delivery vehicles have to be near the break even point in terms of total cost comparing battery electric to diesel whereas fuel cells add another layer of costs for the fuel cells, the fuel (hydrogen), maintenance, and hydrogen storage.


Cummins has plenty of experience with ICEs which have high chamber pressures.  They are probably well-situated to make a 2-cylinder sustainer engine running on a low-carbon fuel like methanol and turbocharged out the wazoo, dealing with the battery range problem that way.  Fuel cells are way outside their bailiwick so they are probably best off using them for greenwashing and satisfying mandates.

Roger Pham

Hydrogen has been used safely in various major industries for over 100 years. Are we suddenly forget how to use Hydrogen safely? Or is there some foul play involved?


Yes.  In industries.  Not as a consumer product.  The required safeguards and practices do not yet exist, and may not be possible.

The recent explosion of a hydrogen station in Korea proves that current practices are inadequate, and the general dangerous nature of any compressed gas at five tons per square inch is something that cannot be wished away.

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