It’s become very chic in some corners lately to bash China as the root of all things evil, but it’s difficult to argue that the world’s most populous nation – until very recently, it relied heavily on coal-fired steam locomotives for rail transportation – is getting provably serious when it comes to clean vehicles. Tackling the issue in partnership with Hyundai means taking advantage of the South Korean giant’s substantial strides into the realm of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel. If you’ve been following these posts, you’ll recall Hyundai’s extensive research on hydrogen fuel cells, which resulted late last year in making the first deliveries of its XCIENT heavy truck line, powered by fuel cells, for evaluation purposes in Switzerland.
The image above, from this past week, shows the next step in that process. Executives from Hyundai signed an agreement with Chinese officials from Guangdong Province to erect a new fuel-cell production plant in the provincial city of Guangzhou. Hyundai Motor Group will open the plant by late 2022, which will have the capacity to produced 6,500 fuel-cell propulsion systems annually, with subsequent increases in production volume. Initially, the Guangzhou plant will produce the same fuel cell being used for propulsion by the all-electric Hyundai NEXO SUV. Last year, the China Society of Automotive Engineers released a strategy to put a million fuel cell electric vehicles, mainly for commercial transport, on the road by 2035. Other automotive and technology firms from the United Kingdom and the EU have separately undertaken initiatives to help China achieve cleaner transportation.