Hyundai tries hydrogen in construction

Hyundai HW155H hydrogen wheeled excavator

After two years of research, its subsidiary specializing in construction equipment has just presented a first concept of an excavator powered by a fuel cell. At the same time, its heavy goods vehicle entity is carrying out tests in Germany.

In 2020, Hyundai CE signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis marking the start of the construction subsidiary’s development around hydrogen fuel cells. Since then, at the Mabuk research center in South Korea, the three companies have been designing future transmissions that will notably power electric forklifts and excavators in the medium to heavy range.

Still at the prototype stage, the HW155H wheeled excavator, presented at Bauma 2022, is one of the innovations born of this collaboration. The machine incorporates a fuel cell at the rear and stores hydrogen in high-pressure tanks positioned on its right side, opposite the cabin.

A proven technology in the automobile

HCE relied on the technologies used in the ix35 and Nexo passenger vehicles to develop the construction machine.

“Over the next few months, HCE will continue to develop this technology and refine it towards its goal of a zero-carbon future,” said Gert Peeters, Product Manager at Hyundai CE Europe.

He adds: “Although the development of electric vehicle technology has made great progress, we risk missing out on the immediate and practical solution that hydrogen represents for reducing emissions and improving air quality. Our projections show that in the future, hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles will be more cost effective than diesel or battery electric vehicles. At Hyundai Construction Equipment, we are convinced that in the long term, hydrogen will establish itself as a major renewable energy.”

A group-wide strategy since its subsidiary Hyundai Truck & Bus is currently testing its Xcient Fuel Cell trucks in Germany, incorporating a hydrogen-powered fuel cell system.

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