At its press conference at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hyundai laid out an ambitious vision to utilize hydrogen energy and software to power a wide range of industries. The centerpiece of the announcement was a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in its vehicles and global operations by 2045.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells to Power Broad Applications
A key pillar of Hyundai’s net-zero strategy is to expand the use of hydrogen fuel cells beyond vehicles to a range of applications like power generation and storage.
Hyundai plans to supply its US plants with green hydrogen generated from waste and biogas by 2028. The company signed an agreement with Waste Management for facility prototyping and infrastructure installation to convert landfill gas into hydrogen.
“Hyundai will leverage its leadership in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to provide scalable solutions across industries,” said Jaehoon Chang, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company. “We are committed to enabling a hydrogen society that enhances quality of life and supports human progress.”
The company also highlighted concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, trains, and ships to demonstrate the versatility of the technology.
Hydrogen Ecosystem to Service Vehicles, Homes, and Industries
As part of its vision, Hyundai aims to develop a complete hydrogen ecosystem that can service homes, buildings, and entire cities with renewable energy.
The company introduced the Trailer Drone concept, an autonomous hydrogen refueling station on wheels that can travel directly to vehicle locations for convenient fueling. Hyundai also demonstrated residential hydrogen energy systems integrated with rooftop solar panels.
|Converts biogas/waste into hydrogen
|Stores hydrogen for on-demand usage
|Fuel Cell System
|Generates electricity from hydrogen
|Battery Energy Storage
|Stores electricity for homes/buildings
“We see hydrogen energy as a holistic ecosystem that can sustainably power our lifestyles without carbon emissions,” said Chang. “Our concepts show how hydrogen can address multiple energy needs in an integrated, efficient way.”
Software and AI to Enable the Hydrogen Economy
Powering Hyundai’s hydrogen push is a new Global Software Center to oversee the company’s software competencies. Housed under a new Global Software Organization led by COO John Suh, the center will develop software for Hyundai’s connected vehicles and mobility solutions.
Key areas of focus include:
- Connected Vehicle OS: New integrated operating system connects vehicles to the cloud for feature upgrades via over-the-air updates
- Connectivity: Enhanced connectivity and cybersecurity across all vehicles
- Autonomous Driving: Level 2+ partial automation by 2025, with higher levels of autonomy targeted for the future
- AI User Experiences: Personalization and intelligent user experiences powered by AI
“Software will act as the neural network that vitalizes all of Hyundai’s technologies, products and services,” said Suh. “We will offer customers new value and experiences through software innovation.”
Hyundai also formed a new partnership with NVIDIA to integrate the NVIDIA Drive computing platform into its future vehicles. The state-of-the-art AI computing system will enable higher levels of autonomy and intelligence.
Concept Vehicles Showcase Future Technology
Hyundai brought several future-looking concept vehicles designed around hydrogen, connectivity, and autonomy.
The Vision FK hybrid fuel cell concept model is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain with 500+ km of range. With sporty, aerodynamic styling and suicide doors, it hints at the styling direction for future N brand models.
The Trailer Drone flexible fueling system allows vehicles to refuel directly at their locations using an autonomous mobile refueling platform. It demonstrates the potential for on-demand refueling without dedicated stations.
Strong Momentum with Significant Investments
Hyundai’s CES announcements build on growing hydrogen momentum globally, with governments recently announcing major new investments in hydrogen infrastructure and development. The company itself has committed over $7 billion to accelerate its hydrogen plans.
With strong government tailwinds and extensive investment, Hyundai aims to help drive the transition to renewable hydrogen across the auto industry and spur broader adoption for aircraft, ships, trains, and power generation.
Outlook: Comprehensive Hydrogen Ecosystem Within Reach
Hyundai’s integrated hydrogen ecosystem spans vehicles, refueling infrastructure, homes, and commercial buildings running on fuel cell systems. With further technological advancements in production, storage and distribution over the next decade, Hyundai aims to make this ecosystem expansion possible – offering hydrogen as a viable path to a net-zero carbon future globally.
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