Leaders from government, industry and non-governmental organizations are arriving today in Seoul, Korea for the first Hyundai Green Leaders meeting focusing on fuel cell technology. Arriving today from Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, Canada and around the world, green leaders will get an eyeful of Hyundai’s fuel cell technology innovations.
Hyundai, like Canada, is a world leader in fuel cell technology.
They have invested heavily to overcome price, technology and consumer acceptance challenges and now are rolling out Fuel Cell Vehicles around the world, including Canada, where Hyundai’s launch of the first-ever commercially available Fuel Cell Vehicle, the Hyundai Tucson, launched earlier this year in Vancouver.
Green Leaders invited here today will be getting the full story of Hyundai’s new fuel cell technology advances, but we already know that Hyundai Motors Chairman Chung Mong Koo has invested heavily in the technology and personally driven executives and management at Hyundai to pursue the hydrogen fuel cell car dream.
Canada’s relationship with Korea is a strong relationship, and in recent years, the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, with terrific assistance from both the Government of Canada and Government of B.C., has made great strides in deepening the relationship with Hyundai around fuel cell vehicles.In the world of rolling out availability of fuel cell vehicles, countries like Canada are pushing automakers from around the world who are now producing fuel cell vehicles to deploy them in Canada.
Of course, there is a challenge.
The automakers need to know there are fuelling stations for the cars they wish to deploy; Fuelling stations need to know there will be enough fuel cell vehicles deployed to warrant making the capital investments in new hydrogen fuelling stations.
So, CHFCA began meeting more than two years ago with senior Hyundai officials, including B.K.Ahn, a senior Hyundai manager in charge of the fuel cell program.
With the BC government and Canadian government’s assistance, we met in Korea and in Vancouver with Hyundai officials, and took them through the fascinating story of British Columbia and Canada’s advances in fuel cell technology, our significant experience with fueling stations for FCV’s and our desire to partner with Hyundai to roll out commercial availability of FCV’s in Canada.
At the same time, we met with other OEMs from around Asia and Europe, plus the U.S., to push for more vehicles for Canada.
Canada, we told them all, has the experience—at peak, we were operating a half dozen fuelling stations in Canada–older, slower-filling models–, we had fleet management experience gained with demonstration Ford Focus vehicles and New Flyer buses; and we have government support for the sector—up and down, in and out, but nonetheless consistent support from government at some level over decades.
And Hyundai listened.
Not only did they listen, but they started to work aggressively with us towards the commercial launch of the Tucson FCV into Canada, at the same time they were deploying FCV’s in California, Europe and Asia.
When Hyundai rolled out commercially available Tucson FCV’s in the Vancouver area, they were overwhelmed with more than 300 applicants looking to lease the zero-emission suv’s, and even more pleasantly surprised when a recent poll highlighted that 75% of Canadians were interested in zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Now, the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association has just issued a new Request for Proposals for Vancouver’s next, 700-bar fuelling station for FCV’s, and is working closely with the B.C. Government, Hyundai and other OEMs to ensure a new fuelling station arrives in 2016, and further planning is executed for additional stations.
Canadian fuelling station technology is significant, with firms like Hydrogenics and HTEC having worldwide experience in developing new fuelling stations for hydrogen vehicles. In fact, Canadian firms are now working on fuelling stations in California, and have supplied expertise to Germany and elsewhere.
Watch this space closely for more updates on Hyundai’s work in Canada, lead by Canadian Hyundai President Don Romano, and CHFCA’s efforts to increase fuelling staton capacity. The Canadian Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative, Chaired by HTEC’s Colin Armstrong, and with support of OEMs, governments and industry, is working now to create plans for additonal infrastructure across Canada.