Hyundai confirms launch of first fuel-cell trucks
The introduction of the XCIENT Fuel Cell is the official entry of Hyundai’s commercial vehicles in the European market which is a landmark for the organisation’s expansion into the North American and Chinese commercial markets.
“The delivery of XCIENT Fuel Cell starts a new chapter not only for Hyundai’s hydrogen push, but also the global community’s use of hydrogen as a clean energy source,” said In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Division at Hyundai Motor. “Today’s delivery is just a beginning as it opens endless possibilities for clean mobility. With successful delivery of the first XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, we proudly announce our plan to expand beyond Europe to North America and China where we are already making great progress.”
The production capacity of the XCIENT Fuel Cell is set to reach an estimated 2,000 units every year by 2021 in order to support its expansion into Europe, the US and China as demand for clean mobility increases. This rise in capacity will be backed by a US$1.3bn investment in addition to a previously confirmed US$6.4bn stake in the formation of a hydrogen ecosystem to support the creation of a hydrogen society.
In Switzerland, Hyundai aims to put 1,600 trucks on Swiss roads by 2025.
Hyundai is also working with a number of parties in China with an aim to get one million hydrogen vehicles on its roads by 2030 as the country’s hydrogen industry continues to grow at scale. Initially, Hyundai will zone in on China’s four major hydrogen hubs: Jin-jin-ji, Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong Province and Sichuan Province. It is currently in the midst of discussing cooperative initiatives such as a joint venture with local partners.
In total, three fuel cell electric trucks are scheduled to be launched in China: a medium-duty truck in 2022, a heavy-duty truck within a couple of years as well as an additional heavy-duty truck strategically designed for the China market. Through these models, Hyundai’s aim is to achieve aggregate sales volumes of 27,000 units by 2030.
Image: Hyundai Press.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.