Hyundai Motor has agreed to supply 4,000 hydrogen-powered trucks to companies in China by 2025, according to local reports, in a major boost to its global fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) strategy.

The South Korean automaker has reportedly signed separate preliminary agreements with two groups of Chinese companies.

The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) is with Shanghai Electric Power Company, Shanghai Sunwise Energy Systems Company and Shanghai Ronghe Electric Technology Financial Leasing Company, for the supply of 3,000 hydrogen FCEVs in the next five years to be operated in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Hyundai will also help develop a viable business ecosystem for hydrogen powered transportation operations, including establishing production and refueling infrastructure as well as providing the trucks and aftersales support.

Lee In-cheol, executive vice president of the Hyundai Motor commercial vehicle division, told reporters "we plan to set up a 'business cluster' which covers hydrogen vehicle sales, lease programmes and refueling stations, as China is one of the global hydrogen markets with the most growth potential".

The second MOU is with Advanced Technology & Materials Company and HBIS Group, based in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic zone, for the supply of 1,000 hydrogen trucks.

The Chinese government has set a target of expanding its emerging FCEV market to 1m units per year by 2030 and Hyundai Motor is positioned to play a central role in this strategy.

Hyundai last month said it aims to export 64,000 hydrogen commercial vehicles per year by 2030, including 27,000 to China, 25,000 to Europe and 12,000 to the US.

To achieve this target, it said it would increase its annual production capacity to 2,000 units per year by 2021. 

Earlier this year the automaker shipped 10 hydrogen Xcient heavy duty trucks to Switzerland, as part of a deal to ship a further 40 units to Europe by the end of the year and 1,600 by 2025.