Hyundai Motor hopes to lead the global fuel cell electric vehicle market with plans to produce 500,000 hydrogen fuelled vehicles per year in South Korea by 2030, executive vice-chairman Chung Eui-sun revealed in a statement to the local press.

Its local parts affiliate, Hyundai Mobis, held a groundbreaking ceremony this week for the construction of a second hydrogen fuel cell plant in Chungju.

The facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019 with a production capacity of 40,000 hydrogen stacks per year. The company's current plant has a production capacity of just 3,000.

Hyundai and 124 partners together plan to spend KRW7.6bn (US$6.7bn) on research and development in this sector by 2030.

With almost all of the related parts expected to be sourced locally, FCEVs are expected to become a key growth segment in the future, creating an additional 51,000 full time jobs by 2030.

Global consulting firm McKinsey expects global sales of fuel cell stacks will range between 5.5m and 6.4m per year by 2030. 

Hyundai is betting heavily on hydrogen as a key fuel of the future and hopes to gain a strong lead from being an early mover.

Its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Tucson ix, was produced in limited volumes from 2013 and was followed in 2016 by the Nexo FCEV which has a range of over 600km.