Hyundai Tops Hydrogen Vehicle Sales

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According to Business Korea, Hyundai has surpassed Toyota to become the number one seller of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the world. This takes into account sales numbers for both companies through the third quarter of 2019.

  • Hyundai sold more fuel cell vehicles than Toyota for the first time this year.
  • Fuel cell vehicle sales are strongest in Korea, where government subsidies are helping stoke their popularity.
  • Hyundai sells its Nexo fuel cell electric crossover in the United States, where sales are restricted to California.

A larger network of hydrogen refueling stations is key to expanding the public’s acceptance of this alternate fuel. (Photo: Hyundai)

Korea outsells the world

Fuel cell electric vehicles are more popular in Korea than in any other country. Through October, it saw sales of 3,207 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which marks a 622 percent increase over last year. Elsewhere, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles sell in much smaller quantities. Sales amounted to 1,798 units in the United States, 596 units in Japan, and only 397 units in the entire European Union. That puts Korea ahead of all three of those regions combined.

Worldwide, Hyundai sold 3,666 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles during the first three quarters of 2019. That’s an increase of 576% over the same period last year. Toyota came in with 2,174 units sold worldwide, a 17% increase. Honda saw sales head in the opposite direction, down 54 percent with only 286 units sold.

Much of Hyundai’s success selling hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is due to the support of its home country. Earlier this year, Korea announced its Hydrogen Economy Roadmap. It aims to produce 6.2 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with 1,200 fueling stations in Korea by 2040. To get the public on board, the government is subsidizing hydrogen fueling stations. Results have been mixed with some stations struggling to be profitable.


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles account for a tiny portion of overall vehicles sales around the world. Although volume is low, the percentage increase achieved by Hyundai this year is impressive.

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