Cummins and Hyundai Motor Company have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop and commercialize electric and fuel cell powertrains.
Under the MOU the companies plan to develop powertrains 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 working with North American OEMs on the integration of these systems into their vehicles.
The companies will also explore ways they can work together to develop next generation fuel cell systems and have each committed to assign a team to investigate and pursue other areas of collaboration.
The companies said the partnership provides “a springboard for Hyundai Motor Company to increase its presence in the North American commercial vehicle market, and Cummins to enhance its electrified power product portfolio by adding Hyundai’s advanced fuel cell technologies.”
They added that the new collaboration may extend beyond the commercial vehicle market, as the companies will also evaluate the development of fuel cell power generators. The availability of reliable back-up power generation to prevent data loss in emergency situations is a business-critical requirement for many organizations. Fuel cell back-up power generation is attractive for its reduced carbon footprint, the companies added.
“This partnership is a terrific opportunity for both companies to leverage our respective strengths and create new opportunities to grow and broaden the product portfolio we bring to our customers,” said Thad Ewald, vice president, Corporate Strategy, Cummins Inc.
“We’ve made significant investments over the past year to accelerate our fuel cell capabilities including our acquisition of Hydrogenics and this partnership is another step forward,” he added.
“With Hyundai’s global leadership in fuel cell systems coupled with Cummins’ unparalleled electrified powertrain technologies, we expect this partnership to leave a mark in the commercial vehicle market,” said Saehoon Kim, vice president and Head of Fuel Cell Group at Hyundai Motor Group. “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.”
Hyundai has been among the leaders in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, having opened the world’s first commercial production facility for fuel cell vehicles in 2013, and released the first commercialized hydrogen-powered vehicle, the Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2015. Hyundai fuel cell systems are comprised of fuel cell stacks which convert stored hydrogen into electricity, as well as other sub-components — collectively referred to as balance of plant (BoP) — for thermal management and air supply among other integral processes for power generation.
Cummins launched its Electrified Power business segment, which designs and manufactures fully electric and hybrid powertrain systems along with components and subsystems, in 2018. To date, the business has introduced complete electrified powertrain solutions in six markets across seven applications.
This is the second cooperation involving emerging technologies between the two companies announced within the last year. In October of 2018, Cummins and Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE) agreed to collaborate on the design and development of electric powered mini-excavators. Powered by Cummins BM4.4E flexible battery modules (4.4 kWh each), the 3.5-ton excavator is designed to operate for a full eight-hour shift and charge in under three hours.