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FCEV Development History at a Glance

Let's take a look at the development history of fuel cell electric vehicles.

FE Fuel Cell Concept

A few years ago, the level of interest in hydrogen energy was relatively low and uncertainty about its successful market penetration was very high. Nevertheless, Hyundai Motor continued to work on the mass production of FCEVs and finally released NEXO in 2018. The successful development of NEXO, often referred to as the ultimate green car, did not happen overnight. First, Hyundai Motor created a Fuel Cell development unit which led to the TUCSON ix Fuel Cell, a mass production FCEV. NEXO was then released a few years later and then the ‘FCEV Vision 2030’ was announced. Here is a summary of how Hyundai Motor became a leader in clean vehicle technology.

STEP 1, Tucson ix Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass produced FCEV

Tucson ix Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle

ㆍ Exported to 18 countries in North America and Europe
ㆍ Supplied as taxi and car-sharing fleet
ㆍ Listed as Ward’s 10 Best Engines in North America

1998 Establishment of Fuel Cell development unit
2000 Development of Hyundai Motor’s first Fuel Cell vehicle based on SANTA FE 
2005 Development of in-house Fuel Cell system and new FCEV with a range of 384km per charge 2007 Top rated FCEV at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum with ‘A’ ratings in four criteria of noise, emission, fuel efficiency and CO2 emission
2010 Commenced development of mass production FCEV model with modularization of core components and use of common parts

*MOUs signed for hydrogen FCEV demonstration programs with governments including Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland 
2013 Launch of TUCSON ix Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass production FCEV model 
*Won 2013 Future Auto Awards at the Brussels Motor Show, Korea Technology Award (Silver) and listed as the Top 10 New Technology in South Korea

STEP 2 Next-generation FCEV ‘NEXO’


ㆍ Zero emission, autonomous driving, cutting edge design
ㆍ Longest range in the world of 609km (as tested by South Korean authority)
ㆍ 99% of core components developed in-house

2017 World premiere of next-generation ‘FE FCEV Concept’ at Geneva Motor Show 

* Hyundai Motor’s next-generation FCEV concept was named ‘FE’ which stands for ‘Future Eco’. Equipped with a 4th generation FCEV the FE boasts performance on a par with conventional vehicles, over 600km of range per charge and system efficiency improvement of 10% compared to existing FCEV systems 

Release of next-generation FCEV design
* Operation of ‘Hydroelectric House’ (about 231㎡) in Yeouido Han River Park (August ~ November).

2018 World premiere of next-generation FCEV NEXO at CES 2018
*Built with a newly developed next-generation Fuel Cell system and equipped with many advanced features including ADAS technology, a futuristic user interface, and a design based on reinterpretation of space.

HMG announces FCEV Vision 2030
* HMG’s long-term roadmap aims to establish an annual production capacity of 500,000 FCEVs by 2030

STEP 3 Leading the popularization of FCEV

Hydrogen Fueling Station

ㆍ Downsizing, weight and cost reduction of system
ㆍ Expanding product range (sedans, trucks and buses)
ㆍ Strengthening global hydrogen leadership

2019 South Korean government announces hydrogen infrastructure expansion plan for FCEV deployment
*Deploy 10,000 FCEVs and 100 hydrogen stations by 2020

HMG Executive Vice Chairman Eui-Sun Chung appointed as new Co-Chairman of the Hydrogen Council