Motor Industry Update 2 July 2021

Hyundai hydrogen-powered Elec City Fuel Cell bus Hyundai hydrogen-powered Elec City Fuel Cell bus - Photo credit: Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai Motor’s Elec City Fuel Cell bus begins trial service in Munich

Hyundai Motor Company will be working with bus operators in Germany to run in-service trials of its new hydrogen-powered Elec City Fuel Cell bus as the company looks at more opportunities to introduce its zero-emission bus in European, with the bus being able to travel over 500 kilometres when fully charged.

Two Munich bus operators will take turns in running the Elec City Fuel Cell bus on their existing routes in Munich, transporting actual passengers.

Hyundai Motor is planning to work with four additional bus operators, collecting passenger and driver feedback, hoping to prove hydrogen-powered buses as a viable, efficient solution for commercial transportation. Elec City Fuel Cell has been commercially available in Korea since 2019 and a total of 108 buses are currently in operation.

On an annual basis, Elec City Fuel Cell buses that are currently in operation are expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent amount of CO2 sequestered in a year by 1,500 hectares of forest.

Martin Zeilinger, Executive Vice President and Head of CV Development Tech Unit, commented:

“With our leading fuel cell technology, Hyundai Motor is demonstrating how mass-produced Elec City Fuel Cell buses can help reduce CO2 emissions while providing clean mobility. Running these in-service trials will help us further develop our vehicles to meet European customer requirements.”

The Elec City bus is fitted with a 180-kW high-capacity hydrogen fuel cell system, consisting of two 90-kW hydrogen fuel cells, equipped with a durable hydrogen diffusion layer and an electrolyte membrane. There are five hydrogen tanks in the roof, storing a total of 34 kg of hydrogen, giving the bus a range of 500 km.

Volvo and Northvolt join forces in battery development and production

Volvo Car Group is planning to establish a joint venture with leading Swedish battery company Northvolt to develop and produce more sustainable batteries to power the next generation of pure electric Volvo and Polestar cars.

Volvo Car Group and Northvolt aim to set up a research and development centre in Sweden that will begin operations next year in the first stage of this 50/50 partnership.

The centre will build on the battery expertise within both companies and develop next-generation, state-of-the-art battery cells and vehicle integration technologies, specifically developed for use in both Volvo and Polestar cars.

They also plan to build a new gigafactory in Europe with a potential capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year which is scheduled to start in 2026.

The partnership with Northvolt will help secure the European battery cell needs that Volvo Cars require for their ambitious electrification plans, with the goal of selling 50 per cent pure electric cars by the middle of this decade, and only fully electric cars by 2030.

Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt said:

“Volvo Cars and Polestar are industry leaders in the transition to electrification, and perfect partners on the journey ahead as we aim to develop and produce the world’s most sustainable battery cells. We are proud to become their exclusive battery cell production partner in Europe.”

For Polestar, this gives a further boost to its European growth ambitions and underlines its commitment to the Polestar 0 project, which aims to create a truly climate-neutral vehicle by 2030.

Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars, added:

“Developing the next generation of battery cell technology in-house, together with Northvolt, will allow us to design batteries specifically for Volvo and Polestar drivers. With cells developed in-house for our electric cars, we can focus on giving Volvo and Polestar customers what they want, such as range and short charging times.”

SYNETIQ invests in new technology to reduce carbon footprint

SYNETIQ, the UK’s largest integrated salvage and vehicle dismantling company, has invested in market-leading logistics planning software in their strategy to lead the vehicle recycling industry.

The BigChange software allows greater control of delivery and collection routes through integrated vehicle tracking. The software also improves route planning, reducing unnecessary mileage with SYNETIQ’s inhouse fleet of recovery vehicles and parts delivery vans.

Tom Rumboll, CEO of SYNETIQ said:

“The BigChange technology will transform the way we plan logistics and is a key part of both our operational efficiency and our sustainability activities.

“While we help our clients achieve CO2 savings through the use of our green parts, it is vital to our own internal sustainability goals that we minimise our own internal carbon footprint.

“The software helps us to make sure that each of our fleet vehicles, wherever they are and whether they’re collecting or delivering, are optimised, keeping our emissions as low as they can be whilst ensuring we deliver to our SLAs for clients.”

SYNETIQ continues to ensure that its own processes are as sustainable as possible, following the company’s launch in May of their ‘Our Road to Tomorrow’ initiative, stating their commitment to a more sustainable future.