Audi and Hyundai have agreed to work together in the area of fuel cell technology. The two carmakers plan to cross-license patents and grant access to non-competitive components. Both partners aim to bring the fuel cell to volume production maturity more quickly and more efficiently, and are also exploring deeper collaboration in fuel cell tech.

“The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future. On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures,” said Peter Mertens, board member for technical development at Audi.

“We are confident that our partnership with Audi will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society. This agreement is another example of Hyundai’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world,” said Euisun Chung, Hyundai’s vice chairman.

Long ranges and short refueling times make hydrogen an attractive future source of energy for electric mobility. This is particularly true for bigger vehicles, where the weight advantages of the fuel cell vehicle inherent to its design are particularly pronounced. Besides further advances in fuel cell tech, key aspects for its future market success include the regenerative production of hydrogen and sufficient infrastructure.

Within the VW Group, Audi has taken on the development responsibility for fuel cell tech and is currently working on its sixth generation, having already been working on fuel cell concepts for almost 20 years.

At the beginning of the next decade, Audi will introduce the first fuel cell model as a small series production. The “sporty SUV” will combine the premium comfort of the full-size segment with long-range capability, Audi says. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai is focused on the next development stage intended for a broader market offer.

Hyundai, one of the leaders in fuel cell tech, unveiled the Nexo earlier this year. The SUV, which is set to go on sale later this year, is lighter, faster and roomier compared to the Tucson FCEV, its previous fuel cell model. Range is 595 km, and the Nexo does 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 9.5 seconds.

GALLERY: Hyundai Nexo FCEV