Cutaway Hyundai Nexo FCEV. File photo: Hyundai

Seoul, South Korea - Hyundai has signed an agreement with Audi to jointly develop fuel-cell electric vehicles. Under the multi-year agreement signed on Wednesday, Hyundai's affiliates including Kia and Audi's parent company Volkswagen will share components, supply chains and patent licensing. 

The agreement includes mutual access to fuel cell components. As a first step, Hyundai will grant Audi access to parts based on know-how accumulated from the development of ix35 Fuel Cell and the Nexo. 

Audi - which is responsible for the development of fuel-cell technology within the Volkswagen group - will also be able to take advantage of Hyundai’s fuel-cell components parts supply chain, while Hyundai will benefit from economies of scale. The duration of the partnership wasn't disclosed.

Hyundai was the first company to mass-produce hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles; it has been offering fuel-cell powered SUVs since 2013, and currently sells them in 18 countries around the world, but in South Korea and elsewhere, wider adoption of fuel-cell vehicles has been slow, largely due to the scarcity of hydrogen refueling stations.

South Korea's government plans to add more hydrogen refueling stations to increase electronics vehicle sales and reduce carbon emissions.