China's Great Wall plans hydrogen fuel-cell SUV model

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BAODING, China/BEIJING, March 29 (Reuters) - Great Wall Motor (601633.SS) will roll out its first hydrogen fuel-cell sport utility vehicles and launch a fleet of 100 hydrogen heavy trucks this year as it plans to become a major fuel-cell vehicle maker globally.

Zhang Tianyu, chairman of FTXT Energy Technology Co Ltd, a Great Wall unit for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technologies, made the remarks at an event at Great Wall's headquarters in Baoding city. He did not give details of the model. Great Wall, which sold 1.11 million vehicles last year, is China's top pickup truck maker.

After the event, Great Wall's chairman Wei Jianjun told reporters that Great Wall's plan, which was decided around five years ago, is encouraged by shrinking cost of solar power.

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Great Wall will invest three billion yuan ($456.61 million)in hydrogen-related technologies in the next three years, Wei said. He also said FTXT will seek external fundraising.

The automaker will launch high-end EV and hydrogen fuel-cell models under Saloon marque, which will be priced above 300,000 yuan, Wei said.

Great Wall has planned eight new models under WEY marque, which it aims to compete with Toyota (7203.T) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Wei said.

It plans five for the newly-launched Tank brand, Wei said, without offering a timeframe for the products.

Great Wall, which is also selling eletric vehicles (EV) and building an EV factory with BMW (BMWG.DE), will have manufacturing capacity of at least 200 gigawatt-hours in 2023, Wei said.

China, the world's largest auto market, rolled out supportive policies for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles last year, which require local governments and companies to build a more mature supply chain and business model for the industry.

Great Wall rivals including Toyota Motor Corp, Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Geely (GEELY.UL) are developing their own hydrogen fuel-cell models.

($1 = 6.5701 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe; Editing by Giles Elgood

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