Hyundai is to start making excavators powered by hydrogen fuel cells this year, ahead of mass distribution in 2023.
Unlike conventional diesel engine-based equipment, hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source, meaning no emissions of toxic gases into the air.
The South Korean manufacturer said that compared to lithium batteries, which have suffered structural issues limiting various attempts to increase battery capacity, hydrogen fuel cells are much easier to expand, making them more suitable for largescale construction equipment like excavators.
Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, while Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture, and evaluate the performance of excavators and forklifts. The target date for mass production and distribution has been set to 2023.
Hwang Jong-hyun, head of the R&D division for Hyundai Material Handling at Hyundai Construction Equipment, said: “With this latest agreement, we’ve prepared a foundation upon which we can secure core technology in hydrogen-powered construction equipment ahead of our competitors.
“Hyundai Construction Equipment will do its very best to meet the challenges that lie ahead as countries around the world attempt to establish global standards in terms of certifying the performance of equipment and legislating relevant laws for the commercialization of hydrogen-powered construction equipment, and play a leading role in the market moving forward.”