SEOUL, AJU – Taxis powered by hydrogen fuel cells made their debut in South Korea’s capital city in a three-year pilot program to see if the clean energy system is good for public transport.
Ten hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) taxis began their test operation in Seoul on Tuesday, the Seoul city government said in a statement. Nexo, an FCEV sport utility vehicle (SUV) developed by Hyundai Motor, was used for the government-sponsored project.
“By checking the suitability of hydrogen cars through the demonstration project, we will decide whether or not they should be introduced in earnest in the future,” Seoul’s taxi and logistics department manager Kim Ki-bong was quoted as saying.
Until the end of 2022, each taxi will drive for more than 160,000 kilometers (99,419 miles) and researchers will verify the performance of key parts based on collected data. There will be no change in taxi fares. The Seoul city government would consider adopting hydrogen buses later this year.
In an effort to change a public perception that hydrogen fuel charging stations are dangerous, a large hydrogen fuel charging station was set up near the National Assembly building. Dozens of hydrogen charging stations have been built across South Korea and the government plans to establish 310 stations by 2022.
Nexo, released in 2018, is Hyundai’s iconic FCEV model adopted as an official presidential car on August 27. President Moon Jae-in has led a national campaign to adopt hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries as a mainstream fuel in the future with the goal of producing 6.2 million fuel cell vehicles for domestic consumption and exports by 2040.