Hyundai Motor Company and Cummins Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate opportunities to develop and commercialize electric and fuel cell powertrains, starting with the North American commercial vehicle market.
These new powertrains will combine 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. Each company has committed to assign a team of individuals to investigate and pursue other areas of collaboration.
Thad Ewald, Cummins VP, corporate strategy, noted in the announcement that Cummins has made significant investments over the past year to accelerate its fuel cell capabilities, including the acquisition of Hydrogenics. This deal is the next step and will allow Cummins to enhance its electrified power product portfolio by adding Hyundai’s advanced fuel cell technologies.
For Hyundai, the partnership provides a springboard for it to increase its presence in the North American commercial vehicle market.
The new collaboration may extend beyond the commercial vehicle market, as the companies will also evaluate the development of fuel cell power generators.
A Developing Global Fuel Cell Market
The MOU comes at a time of heightened demand for fuel cell technology. Hyundai 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, according to the company. The Nexo, Hyundai’s second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle, has a range of about 380 miles.
Hyundai fuel cell systems are made up of fuel cell stacks that convert stored hydrogen into electricity, as well as other sub-components for thermal management and air supply among other processes for power generation.
Cummins in 2018 launched its Electrified Power business segment, which designs and manufactures fully electric and hybrid powertrain systems, along with 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 products with customers across the world, the company said.