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Battery and fuel cell vehicles will help Hyundai achieve carbon neutrality by 2045

Tags: #ev-autonomous-driving #new-ev-technology #battery-developments #vehicle-to-grid-v2g #ev-shows-international #hydrogen-powertrain

Hyundai has announced its plan to hit carbon neutrality by 2045 at the IAA Munich Motor Show. In an announcement that covered a range of key business areas for the Korean car giant, it committed to phasing out internal combustion in Europe by 2035 and also reaffirmed its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Hyundai’s drive towards carbon neutrality rests on three pillars: clean mobility, next-generation platforms and green energy. There are several milestones that the brand will hit along the way towards achieving that carbon neutral status by 2045. 

The first of these falls into the clean mobility area as the brand phases out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. However, it isn’t committing to ceasing the sale of them altogether globally. By 2030, Hyundai expects 30 per cent of its global sales to be zero emissions vehicles and by 2035 it will only sell battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Europe. 

By 2040, Hyundai reckons that 80 per cent of global sales will be zero emissions vehicles and will phase out internal combustion in all major markets. 

In terms of battery electric models, we’ve already seen the first car based on the new-generation E-GMP platform in the shape of the IONIQ 5. Next up will be the IONIQ 6, which draws inspiration from the frankly gorgeous Prophecy EV which was first revealed early last year. 

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are still a high priority for Hyundai, despite the fact that much of the industry has staked its future on battery power. Then again, Hyundai is probably the world’s leading brand when it comes to FCEVs and in 2023, it will introduce the next generation NEXO MPV, followed by an SUV in 2025. It’ll continue to apply FCEV tech to other forms of transport, too.

To showcase how BEVs and FCEVs can work in a complementary way, Hyundai has created the Vision FK concept sports car, which is being jointly developed with Rimac. A fuel cell system powers the front wheels while a conventional battery electric system powers the rear, resulting in 617bhp, 373 miles of range and 0-62mph in under four seconds. 

The second pillar of next-generation platforms stretches beyond regular cars. Autonomy will form a big part of the next generation of platforms from Hyundai. It is already developing the self-driving technology with an IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, which has Level 4 autonomous ability. Beyond this, Hyundai is pursuing urban air mobility with the aim of launching an intra-city vehicle by 2028. 

Finally, green energy covers several areas which will help Hyundai form an ecosystem around its vehicles. It will aim to use green hydrogen for fuelling infrastructure – that is to say hydrogen created by electrolysis from low- and zero-carbon sources. This differs from blue hydrogen which is a by-product of the fossil fuel industry and is anything but clean. 

We can expect future Hyundai EVs to have vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology to enable owners and wider energy providers to balance local grids by using car batteries as an energy sump. V2G could become a huge part of our future energy systems by balancing supply and demand during peak times, reducing dependence of fossil fuels to make up the difference when demand is high. 

Given that Hyundai’s EVs are big sellers globally, the brand’s commitment to second life battery energy storage systems (SLBESS) is a natural step forward. It’ll be using second life EV batteries in a number of pilot projects starting next year, with the aim to roll them out more widely thereafter. This will help reduce Hyundai’s energy consumption at its plants, which is the final piece of the puzzle towards that 2045 carbon neutrality goal. 

“Hyundai Motor will remain steadfast in our pursuit of carbon neutrality and lead the way in the development of holistic solutions,” said Thomas Schemera, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motor Company. 

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