Hyundai stops Genesis, no hydrogen cars

Hyundai stops Genesis, no hydrogen cars

Hyundai stops Genesis

A couple of days ago, the news regarding Hyundai and its decision to stop the development of new internal combustion engines, in favor of electric mobility solutions; in the last few hours this decision seems to have also extended to Genesis, the luxury brand of the Korean company.

Genesis has been working, for several years now, on the project of a 'hydrogen car with' fuel cell technology ' ', but today this project seems to have been officially put on hiatus; in 2016 Hyundai was convinced that this type of vehicle would have a greater diffusion even than electric ones, but today the strategy seems to have changed.

Genesis has already announced its intention to stop selling vehicles powered by internal combustion engines by 2025, but the hydrogen project has not evolved in the manner and within the hoped-for timing, causing continuous delays on the schedule and generating higher costs than expected. Initially, Hyundai's intention was to start a new project - lasting 4 years - that would lead to the next generation of fuel cell engines, but the umpteenth series of problems encountered on the third generation of this engine led to the inclination Hyundai for a completely opposite decision, namely to pause the project indefinitely.

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The car a Genesis hydrogen, therefore, will not be done, we just have to wait for Hyundai's work on the electric car market, where it is already gathering very positive acclaim thanks to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that we had the opportunity to test a few months ago.

Hyundai Motor stops combustion engine development

The Korean media is reporting that Hyundai Motor Company closed its combustion engine development department in Namyang, S.Korea in December. The automotive company owns Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands. The corporation has also apparently stopped a hydrogen car project of the Genesis brand.

Korean media is reporting that Hyundai is stopping the development of new combustion engines in order to accelerate its transformation into an electric car manufacturer.

The new head of the R&D division Park Chung-kook wrote in an email to employees: “Now, it is inevitable to convert into electrification. Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past.”

This means that those researchers who have been working in engine design, have now moved to the electrification design centre.  A small number of researchers remain to modify existing engines.

A battery development centre has been established under the electrification development division with the goal of securing advanced battery technology. This new centre has teams for both battery design and battery performance among other aspects of battery technology. The R&D Center will also focus on researching raw materials for batteries and semiconductors.

The changes mean a number of restructuring measures in order to shorten the schedule for electric vehicle development. The existing Project Management (PM) Team and the Integrated Product Development Team for each vehicle level have been unified into a vehicle development organisation that covers the range from design (architecture) to mass production.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. have now targeted sales of 1.7 million EVs worldwide in 2026. This is a higher number than 1 million units previously sought for 2025, presumably because of the recent rapid uptake of electric vehicles that has surpassed many carmaker’s expectations.

“The immediate task is to develop innovative vehicles that can dominate the future market,” Park said. “This reorganization will be an important starting point for change ahead in the new year.”

Hydrogen passenger cars in question

The Korean automotive giant has also apparently concluded that hydrogen fuel cell cars have a very limited future and has stopped a hydrogen car project of the Genesis brand. According to thekoreancarblog, an official familiar with Hyundai Motor said, “The development of the Genesis hydrogen car has been going on for about a year with the goal of a four-year development period, but it has been stopped due to a problem with the third-generation fuel cell. It is unclear.”

Hyundai says that the progress made in improving the performance and reducing the costs of the 3rd generation fuel cell system fell short of the original targets. The third-generation fuel cell system was revealed in September just passed. In comparison to the second-generation, improvements included a volume reduced by 30% and an increase in output and durability by 2-3 times. However, the core task for viability in passenger cars is cost, and the company was aiming to reduce the price of vehicle fuel cells by more than 50% by 2025. This goal is now apparently considered unrealistic. For this reason, Hyundai Motor Group apparently already reduced the role of the fuel cell department in a restructuring of organisation and personnel at the end of November.

In 2019, the Korean government announced the goal to sell 81,000 hydrogen cars cumulatively by 2022. Now, just we enter into that said year, the domestic and export performance of hydrogen cars was only 21,000 units as of November just past. This means that the original target can be achieved only when about 60,000 units are sold in the coming year, which is highly unlikely. Hydrogen infrastructure for passenger cars has also seen far less expansion than hoped or intended.

Proponents of hydrogen fuel cell technology and now also governments have been generally advocating the use of this technology in larger, what is called ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ transport sectors such as heavy-duty, long-haul trucking and marine applications. In a point of difference, the Korean government has, until now, been pushing fuel cell passenger cars as part of its hydrogen economy plans. These plans are apparently now being put into question.

In October 2021, Hyundai Mobis, the South Korean automotive supplier belonging to the Hyundai Motor Group, announced that it will invest around 950 million euros in the construction of two plants for fuel cell systems in the Korean cities of Incheon and Ulsan. Although confidence now appears to have been lost in the hydrogen fuel cell car projects, trucks and heavy-duty vehicles are another matter altogether. In 2020, Hyundai Mobis developed fuel cell units for H2 forklifts, and in 2021, Hyundai Mobis has also been working on a variant for hydrogen-powered excavators and fuel cell systems for smaller aircraft.

In September 2021, Hyundai Motor Group presented its ‘Hydrogen Vision 2040’. The strategic plan of the Korean company envisaged offering a fuel cell version for all commercial vehicle models of the group by 2028. The South Korean company also saw the potential “in various areas such as high-performance vehicles, urban air mobility, robots, aircraft and in large ships” – and the energy sector. These areas are generally considered far more feasible for hydrogen fuel cell technology than passenger cars.

It remains to be seen if these other areas will be affected by the decision to draw back on fuel cell systems for passenger cars., (end of combustion engine dev.), (questioned H2 car goals)

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