Hyundai Motor Group, along with Audi AG has announced their entry into a multi-year patent cross-licensing agreement, for the development of a broad range of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) components and technologies. Under the agreement, the automotive manufacturing partners will make joint efforts in developing FCEVs, to lead the automotive industry to a more sustainable future. While the agreement has been inked between Hyundai Motor Company and Audi, it also covers and benefits both companies’ affiliates, including but not limited to Kia Motors and Audi’s parent company Volkswagen.
The partnership agreement covers existing patents as well as those filed over the years to come, with Hyundai and Audi, as well as their affiliates equally sharing these patent licenses. However, the duration of this agreement has not been disclosed. This partnership will leverage collective R&D capabilities in fuel cell technology to elevate their presence in the FCEV market, the companies noted. Therefore, the agreement also includes mutual access to fuel cell components. As a first step, Hyundai will grant Audi the access to parts that are based on the former’s know-how accumulated from the development of ix35 Fuel Cell, as well as NEXO.
Audi, which is responsible for the development of fuel cell technology within the Volkswagen Group, will also be able to take full advantage of Hyundai’s FCEV parts supply chain. Hyundai Motor Company, has been offering SUV-Class FCEVs since 2013, and currently sells them in 18 countries around the world, noted Audi.
Hyundai Motor Group and Audi have also agreed to explore opportunities for a next step in their collaboration. This next step will aim to lead industry standards in fuel cell technology, as well as accelerate FCEV development and spur innovation in this technology, providing more advanced mobility options.
This alliance is also said to be opening new avenues for Hyundai Motor Group’s fuel cell components business, by engaging in new business opportunities created by this partnership. Hyundai Mobis, the FCEV components manufacturer of the Group, is expected to continuously expand its role for developing and supplying proprietary core components for Hyundai and Kia FCEVs.
Mobis became the first-ever company to establish an integrated production system for core components of FCEVs in 2017. Its plant in Chungju, South Korea, currently has production capacity of 3,000 powertrain fuel cell complete (PFC) modules per year. These PFC modules are comprised of fuel stacks, drive motors, power electronic components and hydrogen fuel supply units. Mobis will raise the plant’s capacity to tens of thousands of PFC modules down the road, depending on market demand, Hyundai said.
Hyundai Motor Group is said to be taking the lead in FCEV deployment and striving to develop FCEVs that exceed the expectations of traditionally-powered vehicles, in terms of safety, reliability, range and specification. It is further strengthening its global leadership with an all-new hydrogen-powered SUV, called NEXO, with enhanced range and fuel efficiency. NEXO comes with motor power of 120 kW, and is built on a new dedicated fuel cell platform, which gives it greater power and better driving dynamics than earlier generation FCEVs.
Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman, Hyundai Motor Company, said this agreement is another example of the company’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles. The company is confident that this partnership will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society, he added.
The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in the company’s technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future, noted Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development, Audi AG. He said that on Audi’s FCEV roadmap, it is joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. “For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures,” Mertens added.