Hyundai Mobis said in a regulatory filing it had agreed to transfer its hydrogen power business to Hyundai Motor.

The Mobis hydrogen power operations, including its hydrogen fuel cell systems business, were estimated to be worth KRW218bn (US$163m) but have significant growth potential both within the Hyundai Motor Group and as an independent supplier as automakers around the world continue to switch to zero emission technology.

As part of the agreement, Hyundai Mobis would transfer to Hyundai Motor all of its hydrogen related operations located in Chungju, south of Seoul. These include research and development (R&D) and production facilities for fuel cell stacks and systems and also hydrogen refuelling systems, along with all related staff.

The deal would give Hyundai Motor complete and centralised control of its hydrogen energy technology development strategy with the fuel expected to play an increasingly important role in some key automotive segments in the future, particularly commercial vehicles.

A Hyundai Motor spokesperson said in a statement: “Global fuel cell vehicle sales have slowed recently but we expect that hydrogen will eventually catch on as a fuel of the future.”

According to South Korean consulting firm SNE Research, global sales of fuel cell powered electric vehicles fell 30% to 14,450 units last year with Hyundai sales falling 50% to 4,709 units.

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Hyundai has a zero emissions technology deal with Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco which includes the supply its HTWO hydrogen fuel cell system and 310kW electric motors for the E-Way H2 bus.