Why Does Kia Want More Hydrogen Infrastructure?


It doesn't sell a fuel cell car. So why the urgency?

Currently, Kia's putting a good chunk of its marketing material (in the UK, at least) to use promoting the firm's new petrol-electric Prius rival, the Niro crossover. As a result, you'd be forgiven for assuming Kia's focused on building upon the hybrid foundations currently being laid out by the Niro. However, as Auto Express is reporting, Kia's British division is seemingly just as focused on getting a suitable hydrogen infrastructure set up in the United Kingdom.

Speaking to the aforementioned British weekly motoring magazine, Kia UK's CEO, Paul Philpott, revealed that he and the company he operates would ideally like to see "longer-term and tangible plans" for the UK's hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, so Kia can start sorting out the steps it needs to take in order to bring a viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to market in Britain. Kia UK's also likely using the rather sluggish sales of the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai as a further incentive to push for greater investment into the construction of hydrogen refuelling stations: according to the same Auto Express article, Toyota UK has sold just 26 Mirais since the vehicle was launched last September.

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Still, that probably doesn't answer the question of "why does it matter to Kia?". After all, the company doesn't currently sell a hydrogen fuel cell car - though that's likely set to change rather quickly. Kia is reportedly set to launch its very first mass-market hydrogen vehicle by the year 2020, and it's also worth pointing out that both Kia and parent company Hyundai have dabbled with hydrogen-powered vehicles before. For Kia's sake, it'll be interesting to see if the UK Government does take its feedback on board and rapidly expands the country's hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the coming years. Whether the same move takes place in the US and elsewhere, remains to be seen.

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