In a move that melds the past, present, and future of automotive technology, Hyundai Motor, Kia, and W. L. Gore & Associates have inked a deal that sets the stage for next-gen hydrogen fuel cell systems. This trio isn’t new to collaboration, but their latest venture at the Mabuk Eco-Friendly R&D Center in Korea spotlights a key component: the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM).
Let’s break it down. PEMs are the heart of a hydrogen fuel cell, acting as the essential barrier that separates hydrogen and oxygen gases while allowing protons to pass through. This process is what fires up the electrical current to power a vehicle. It’s the efficiency and durability of these membranes that Hyundai, Kia, and Gore are gunning to enhance, especially for commercial vehicles.
This isn’t a fly-by-night partnership. These companies have been in the fuel cell game for over 15 years. Chang Hwan Kim of Hyundai Motor and Kia puts it succinctly: “By leveraging the 15 years of collaboration, we will acquire advanced fuel cell technology and lead the fuel cell electric vehicle market.” It’s a clear nod to their collective expertise and vision for a sustainable automotive future.
Gore, with its roots in advanced materials and a knack for tackling technical challenges, brings to the table its pioneering PEM technology. This alliance isn’t just about making better vehicles. It’s an expansive vision that reaches beyond passenger cars to commercial vehicles and even sectors unrelated to automotive.
Michelle Augustine of Gore reiterates this commitment: “Leveraging our advanced PEM technology solutions, we will work together with Hyundai Motor and Kia to enable them to deliver fuel cell vehicles that provide a performance and cost advantage to consumers.”
Hyundai Motor Group’s dive into hydrogen tech isn’t new. They’ve been at it for 25 years, even launching the HTWO hydrogen business brand in 2020. Their scope is wide, covering not just vehicles but also marine, aerospace, power generation, and more.