Hyundai Construction Equipment and Hyundai Motor Group are joining forces to develop hydrogen-powered construction equipment, which they say will be the world’s first.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in February 2019, 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.
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.
Given the rapidly rising demand for eco-friendly equipment around the world in recent years, hydrogen-based construction equipment is expected to help Hyundai Construction Equipment compete in the global construction market moving forward.
Furthermore, compared to lithium batteries, which have been marred by structural issues limiting various attempts to increase battery capacity, hydrogen fuel cells are much easier to expand, making them a much more logical choice for large forklifts or excavators.
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.”