Red Flags for Hyundai-Toyota: Shell’s Hydrogen Station Closures Signal Trouble Ahead
Withdrawal of the project to purchase the site of the hydrogen station
Reducing working hours at charging stations currently in operation
Global energy company Shell has permanently closed some of its hydrogen fueling stations in the United States. As part of its efforts to improve performance last year, the company has been downsizing its hydrogen business through restructuring in the carbon reduction sector. This move has also raised red flags in the hydrogen businesses of Hyundai Motor and Toyota, the two companies currently dominating the local hydrogen car market.
According to industry sources, on the 13th, Shell permanently closed seven hydrogen fueling stations in California. The company explained that the decision was made due to external market factors such as hydrogen energy supply hardships and worsening profitability. In addition, the company has also withdrawn from a project to purchase sites for local hydrogen stations that it had been pushing for. With this permanent closure, the number of hydrogen fueling stations operated by Shell in California has decreased to 48.
Shell plans to continue adjusting the number of hydrogen fueling stations. The company will either reduce the number of chargers or shorten the operating hours at its current stations.
Shell’s downsizing of its hydrogen business had already been announced several times. Following the closure of its total hydrogen fueling stations in the UK in 2022, the company announced a major restructuring plan for its Low Carbon Solutions (LCS) division within the corporation last year. At that time, a Shell spokesperson emphasized that “we plan to invest only in businesses that can create value and reduce carbon emissions.”
The number of Shell’s hydrogen fueling stations in California is expected to decrease to less than 30 by the end of the year. This is because the size of the hydrogen car market in California last year was only 3,143 units.
Given this situation, Hyundai Motor and Toyota’s local hydrogen businesses are expected to be significantly affected. In particular, Hyundai Motor will likely withdraw its local hydrogen car production plans. Since last year, Hyundai Motor has been considering producing hydrogen cars at its Alabama plant (HMMA).
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor sold 241 units of its hydrogen car Nexo in the U.S. last year. This figure represents a 30.1% decrease from the previous year. On the other hand, Toyota’s hydrogen car Mirai saw a 90.5% increase in sales of the prior year (1,437 units) to 2,737 units.