SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s top automaker, said Monday that it has succeeded in localizing the production of a key fuel cell part, which it expects will reduce the overall cost in making fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) down the road.
Hyundai Motor has been dependent entirely upon imports for its need for membrane electrode assembly (MEA), a core component of a fuel cell that helps produce the electrochemical reaction needed to separate electrons. It is often referred to as a cylinder in a combustion engine.
“We have recently succeeded in developing our own MEA after spending around 10 years in research,” a Hyundai Motor official said. He declined to elaborate on other details, such as how much has been invested in the project.
Its newly developed MEA is reportedly better than imports in terms of durability and performance. It is also regarded as 13 percent cheaper than imported goods.
Hyundai Motor expects that the MEA part would help reduce the overall cost of producing FCEVs in which a fuel cell accounts for about 40 percent of the total cost.
The automaker plans to apply the new part to its Tucson ix FCEV to be supplied to a local government either in late September or early October.
FCEVs have yet to take off due in part to their relatively expensive costs and lack of necessary infrastructure, such as recharging stations.