Hyundai Motor announced Thursday that it will become a shareholder in hydrogen infrastructure company H2 Mobility, as it doubles down on its commitment to expanding infrastructure to power fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The move makes Hyundai the first shareholder to come from outside of the group’s six founding members, which include French energy giant Total, as well as Shell and carmaker Daimler.
H2 Mobility is the world’s largest operator of hydrogen refuelling stations. It currently operates 91 hydrogen filling stations across seven German metropolitan regions, with aims to expand in the near future. It has two filling stations in the planning phase, 10 in the approval phase and three further ones about to go into operation.
The company has worked closely with Hyundai since its founding in 2015, with the two partnering to develop Germany’s hydrogen infrastructure. Their collaboration has helped to establish Germany as one of the most developed hydrogen infrastructures in Europe.
“We are very pleased about our new shareholder,” said Nikolas Iwan, Managing Director of H2 Mobility. “By joining, Hyundai is underlining the increasing importance of hydrogen as it guarantees unlimited, unrestricted mobility.”
Iwan added that the group has been looking for anchor customers capable of bringing in large volumes to the stations, in the hopes that this will enable them to reach profitability within the next three years.
Hyundai is therefore of huge strategic importance to the group, given the lead it has when it comes to scaling effects, particularly in relation to commercial vehicles. It is currently the top-selling Asian carmaker in Germany, producing a range of conventional, electric and fuel-cell vehicles, and holds a 3.7% share of the market.
“In Germany, a lot of money is flowing into the topic of hydrogen through the European Union Green Deal and national funding, and we believe that we are at the forefront,” said Ronald Grasman, vice president of fuel cell business development at Hyundai.
Despite fuel cell cars still being a long way from mass production, Hyundai is confident that they represent the future of green travel. In Switzerland, the company has been running the world’s most advanced pilot programme in the field since last October, renting out “green” hydrogen trucks to commercial clients, and aims to deliver 1,600 units of the fuel cell truck to Europe by 2025.