Cummins, Hyundai partnering on powertrains

Cummins Inc.’s expansion into alternative forms of power has taken another step.

The Columbus-based power generation and diesel engine maker and Hyundai Motor Company, a South Korean automobile manufacturer, announced a partnership Thursday night to develop and commercialize electric and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, according to a news release.

“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, Cummins vice president — corporate strategy. “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.”

The powertrains will combine Hyundai’s fuel cell systems with Cummins’ electric powertrain, battery and control technologies.

Initial development will focus on the North American commercial vehicle market. The companies said the partnership should help Hyundai increase its presence in the North American market and help Cummins strengthen its electrified power product portfolio.

Also, Cummins and Hyundai will explore how they can develop next generation fuel cell systems, and have each committed to assign a team of individuals to investigate and pursue other areas of collaboration, the news release said. The companies said they will evaluate possible development of fuel cell power generators.

“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, Hyundai Motor Group vice president and head of Fuel Cell Group.

Cummins, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, launched its Electrified Power business segment at the start of 2018. It designs and manufactures electric and hybrid powertrain systems. Earlier this month, Cummins completed the purchase of Hydrogenics Corporation, which develops and manufactures fuel cell modules and hydrogen production technologies.

Hyundai Motor Company, established in 1967, opened the world’s first commercial production facility for fuel cell vehicles in 2013. It released the first commercialized hydrogen-powered vehicle, the Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2015, according to the news release.

The companies said that demand for fuel cell technology is growing because hydrogen can be produced from renewable sources, stored economically and used for a wide range of industrial and residential applications.