SAIC Motor unveiled its first fuel cell powered MPV in Shanghai at the weekend, the Maxus EUNIQ 7, as part of a broader push to harness hydrogen as a key fuel of the future. 

The EUNIQ 7 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is fitted with SAIC's third-generation fuel cell system which the company said gives it a range of 605km and a hydrogen refueling time of three to five minutes.

SAIC Motor said it first began developing FCEV technologies in 2001 and launched its first hydrogen powered sedan in 2016 the first vehicle of its kind to be sold in the country. The company said it had spent CNY3bn (US$$442m) developing hydrogen fuel cell technologies and holds 511 related patents.

The Shanghai automaker said it was stepping up its spending in this segment and aimed to launch 10 FCEVs in the next five years to claim a 10% share of sales in the country by 2025 with annual sales of around 30,000 vehicles.

The company said it was building a 1,000 strong team to develop and scale up fuel cell systems and related technologies which will also be used in trucks and buses. The company aims to become a globally competitive fuel cell vehicle manufacturer in the next decade.

Wang Xiaoqiu, president of SAIC Motor, said the company would "deepen cooperation with upstream and downstream companies to jointly promote the development of a FCEV industrial chain". 

China plans to build over 1,000 hydrogen refilling stations by promote annual sales of 1m FCEVs by 2030, according to a plan drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2016.