Well, isn't this fortuitous timing. Just as the UK begins to worry about what might really happen come 2030, so Hyundai and Ineos have signed a memorandum of understanding "to explore new opportunities to accelerate the global hydrogen economy." As the world begins to think a lot more seriously about a future with drastically fewer combustion engines, it looks a shrewd move.
Hyundai, as we know, has considerable expertise in the area, having been at the business of producing fuel cell electric vehicles since 2013. It may well cost £70k and there isn't exactly a hydrogen filling station in every town, but you could go into a Hyundai dealership and order a Nexo right now.
Ineos, as you might expect, doesn't have considerable expertise in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Grenadier 4x4 is set to use BMW petrol and diesel six cylinders. Which is where this collaboration becomes interesting: "The agreement also includes the evaluation of Hyundai's proprietary fuel cell system for the recently announced Ineos Grenadier 4x4 vehicle. This cooperation represents an important step in Ineos' efforts to diversify its powertrain options at an early stage." At present, that makes 163hp and 291lb ft of torque, which scoots a Nexo to 62mph in less than ten seconds and onto 111mph. A Grenadier will be heavier and not as quick, but then what could be more authentically Defender than a slow and steady off-roader?
We're getting ahead of ourselves, of course; all that's confirmed for the moment is the understanding between the two brands. But it does all piece together quite nicely: Ineos has launched a subsidiary that aims to build clean hydrogen capacity, and it already produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year as a by-product of its chemical manufacturing operations. Combine that with Inovyn, another Ineos offshoot that's Europe's largest existing electrolysis operator (which generates hydrogen from renewable energy for industrial use) and it all makes sense. In its own words Ineos was "in a unique position to drive progress towards a carbon-free future based on hydrogen"; Hyundai's experience will certainly complement that, particularly with a desire to be producing 700,000 hydrogen fuel cell systems a year by 2030.
"We also hope our decades-long expertise in hydrogen fuel cell work in synergy with Ineos' expertise in field of chemistry to realize the mass production of green hydrogen and fuel cells for the Grenadier." That's according to Saehoon Kim, head of Hyundai's Fuel Cell Centre. So in a year that's been full of surprises, there is now the prospect of a fuel cell Grenadier on the horizon. Bet you didn't see that one coming...
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