Genesis hydrogen FCEV development encounters snag [Update]

Update – South Korea’s Maeil Business received a response from Hyundai, which refuted rumors of issues with future FCEVs. The final section of the story has been updated.

The 100% zero-emission Genesis vehicle line-up by 2030 was to include hydrogen FCEVs. However, the latest reports from South Korea suggest that the Hyundai Motor Group has encountered turbulence with the hydrogen FCEV projects at Genesis.

In addition to previewing the Genesis GV80’s design, the Genesis GV80 Concept was an indicator of HMG’s interest in releasing hydrogen FCEVs from its luxury brand. An announcement from the Genesis brand on September 2, 2021, confirmed that the entire Genesis line-up will become emission-free by 2030 and include BEVs and FCEVs. Jay Chang, CEO, Genesis, offered a statement to confirm the dual electrification strategy during the announcement on September 2, 2021:

Genesis will lead the age of electrification through fuel cell EVs as well as battery EVs.

Jay Chang, CEO, Genesis (Futuring Genesis strategy announcement on September 2, 2021)

On September 6, 2021, Hyundai revealed that it will launch a fuel-cell-powered large SUV after 2025. It was only logical to presume a fuel-cell-powered SUV from the Genesis brand was in the pipeline, too.

At IAA, Hyundai unveils its passenger FCEV roadmap for the next few years. In 2023, Hyundai will introduce the next model of NEXO and hydrogen-powered multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) model. Hyundai plans to launch a large SUV powered by fuel cell after 2025.

Hyundai Motor Presents Carbon Neutral Commitment at IAA Mobility 2021 (September 6, 2021)

On September 7, 2021, Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis’ parent company Hyundai Motor Group unveiled its third-gen fuel cell stack. The company said that it will introduce the new tech in 2023. By now, it was clear that the first few Genesis FCEVs, possibly including a large SUV, would pack this newly developed fuel cell stack, one that is more advanced than the current system (second-gen fuel cell stack) used by the Nexo.

According to a report Chosun Biz published on December 28, 2021, HMG has suspended the development of the third-gen hydrogen fuel cell for use in Genesis hydrogen FCEVs. The report stated technical problems and lack of marketability as the reasons behind the decision.

A second report Chosun Biz released that day said that the development performance and research progress of the third-gen hydrogen fuel cell fell far short of the original goal. HMG’s current hydrogen FCEV sales are unable to meet 50% of the targeted number. Moreover, the hydrogen refueling station outlets and the current refueling cost seem unlikely to meet their targets in 2022. A Hyundai Motor Company official said that a Genesis hydrogen FCEV was under development for about a year with a goal of completion in four years, but the company has halted development because of a problem with the third-gen hydrogen fuel cell.

On December 29, 2021, Pulse reported that HMG is facing a problem with the membrane, which is a key component of a hydrogen fuel cell. The same component used in the first- and second-gen hydrogen fuel cells is having durability issues. The company is trying to upgrade it for the third-gen hydrogen fuel cell, but the process is taking longer than expected, a source in the know-how of the development said. However, Hyundai denies these reported developments and says that its next-gen fuel cell development and Genesis electrification remains intact.