Hyundai CE to produce hydrogen-powered excavators, forklifts by 2023

Hyundai says it will develop hydrogen-powered medium and large excavators, such as the size of this HX380L.

Hyundai Construction Equipment says it has joined forces with Hyundai Motor Group and Hyundai Mobis to develop what it says is the world’s first hydrogen-powered construction equipment.

The three Hyundai entities have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop hydrogen-powered forklifts and medium and large hydrogen-powered excavators, with a 2023 mass production and distribution target deadline.

Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, and Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of excavators and forklifts.

Hyundai says hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source. “Given the rapidly rising demand for eco-friendly equipment around the world in recent years, hydrogen-based construction equipment is expected to help Hyundai Construction Equipment compete in the global construction market moving forward,” says a press release.

Hyundai says hydrogen power has advantages over lithium batteries, which have structural issues that limit attempts to increase capacity. “Hydrogen fuel cells are much easier to expand, making them a much more logical choice for large forklifts or excavators,” says the company.

Hyundai expects the partnership to “give the construction equipment industry a boost in terms of creating a hydrogen-based ecosystem.”

The company also says the move gives it a competitive edge in developing the core technology in hydrogen-powered construction equipment.