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Cummins and Hyundai cement fuel cell collaboration

Global powertrain giants Hyundai Motor Company and Cummins have announced in a joint statement that they have agreed to evaluate opportunities to collaboratively develop and commercialise electric and fuel-cell powertrains.

The alliance is expected to rouse much interest within a currently diesel-dependent industry grappling with the best way to proceed on zero emissions electric trucks – vehicles that can be either powered by large, bulky batteries, or hydrogen fuel cells that produce electricity.

According to Cummins spokesperson, Jon Mills, the partnership with Hyundai builds on a strategy to provide a range of next-generation clean technologies from natural gas to electric to fuel cells.

“We believe there will need to be a range of power solutions,” said Mills.

The new powertrains are expected to be developed by combining Hyundai’s fuel-cell systems with Cummins’ electric powertrain, battery and control technologies.

The initial development will be focused on the North American commercial vehicle market, including Class 8 (heavy-duty) tractor units.

The companies will reportedly work with North American manufacturers on the integration of the systems into their vehicles.

Hyundai said it expects the partnership will serve as a springboard to increase its presence in the North American commercial vehicle market. Meanwhile, Cummins plans to enhance its Electrified Power product portfolio by incorporating Hyundai’s advanced fuel-cell technologies.

“Collaborations such as this will enable us to further diversify our business, as well as reinforce our global hydrogen leadership through sales of new and existing Hyundai fuel-cell systems,” said Hyundai Fuel Cell Group Head, Saehoon Kim.

Both companies also suggested the collaboration may extend beyond the commercial vehicle market, and are evaluating the feasibility of power generators based on fuel cells.

Such generators could be used as reliable backup power to prevent data loss in emergency situations, the companies said.

(Image L-R: Thad Ewald of Cummins and Saehoon Kim of Hyundai.)

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