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Hydrogen fuel cell trucks to the fore

Hydrogen fuel cell trucks to the fore

NZ Truck & Driver News

 August 2020   
Hydrogen fuel cell heavy trucks appear to have reached a watershed moment in Europe, spearheaded by Hyundai rolling out the first of a 1600-truck order.

Ten Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks – the world's first mass-produced heavy duty FCVs – are due to start work in Switzerland next month.

The 4x2s are rated to work at up to 36 tonnes all-up, with a range of 400 kilometres – powered by electric motors running on power generated by two 95-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell stacks. 

DesignHyundai says it's now developing a fuel cell truck with a 1000km range – squarely aimed at long-distance haulage in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world.

The landmark delivery is the very first batch of the huge order – which is to be completed over the next five years – in a joint-venture between Hyundai and Swiss company H2 Energy.
The JV will lease the trucks to Swiss transport operators on a pay-per-use basis, with no upfront cost for commercial fleets.

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Hydrogen fuel cell heavy trucks appear to have reached a watershed moment in Europe, spearheaded by Hyundai rolling out the first of a 1600-truck order.
Ten Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks – the world's first mass-produced heavy duty FCVs – are due to start work in Switzerland next month.
The 4x2s are rated to work at up to 36 tonnes all-up, with a range of 400 kilometres – powered by electric motors running on power generated by two 95-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell stacks. 
Hyundai says it's now developing a fuel cell truck with a 1000km range – squarely aimed at long-distance haulage in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world.
The landmark delivery is the very first batch of the huge order – which is to be completed over the next five years – in a joint-venture between Hyundai and Swiss company H2 Energy.
The JV will lease the trucks to Swiss transport operators on a pay-per-use basis, with no upfront cost for commercial fleets.
The project is part of Hyundai Motor Group's longterm vision for a "hydrogen society." In the next decade it plans to develop a 700,000-unit annual build capacity of fuel cell systems for cars, trucks and buses, ships, trains, drones and power generators.
Hyundai Motor executive VP and commercial vehicle head In Cheol Lee says that the XCIENT Fuel Cell is delivered as "a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing-board project. 
"By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society.
"Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem, where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like XCIENT Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation."
The 400km range is a balance, says Hyundai, between the specific requirements of potential fleet customers and the refuelling infrastructure available in Switzerland. Each truck can be refuelled in eight to 20 minutes.
Switzerland is an attractive starting point for Hyundai's FCEVs in part because it has a road tax exemption for zero-emission trucks, which almost equalises the costs per kilometre of a fuel cell truck compared to a regular diesel truck.
Also, says Hyundai, "to truly reduce carbon emissions, all of the trucks need to run on only green hydrogen" – and Switzerland has one of the world's highest percentages of hydro power…and "can therefore deliver sufficient green energy for the production of hydrogen."
The XCIENT FC has a 661 V battery, a 350kW/3400Nm Siemens motor/inverter and an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. Disc brakes and a four-stage retarder are standard, with air suspension all around. It has a collision avoidance system, smart cruise control, electronic braking, vehicle dynamic control, ABS and lane departure warning.
Coinciding with the Hyundai FCEV delivery, Daimler Truck announced that it is "working intensively" to prepare for series production of fuel cells on a large industrial scale.
Chairman of the board Martin Daum declares the hydrogen fuel cell "a key technology of strategic importance" in "pursuing the vision of the CO2-neutral transportation of the future."
The company is also consolidating all of its fuel cell activities under the umbrella of Daimler Truck Fuel Cell, in preparation for producing fuel cells in its recently-announced joint-venture with the Volvo Group.
Meantime, a consortium led by the Port of Rotterdam and AirLiquide has launched a plan to develop a "hydrogen corridor" for fuel cell trucks through the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. 
They say it is "one of the largest projects in Europe for the development of hydrogen trucks and related infrastructure."
Its aim is to have 1000 fuel cell trucks operating on the corridor within five years, with 25 high capacity hydrogen stations along the route. Among those already involved are Iveco and its electric and fuel cell truck joint-venture partner Nikola, which has plans to develop a network of hydrogen stations across the United States to refuel its fuel cell tractor units.
The Port of Rotterdam and AirLiquide are also involved in another project, which is investigating the development of a hydrogen corridor from Rotterdam to Genoa, in northwestern Italy…for road, water and rail transport (that's 1200kms by road). 
And the European Union-backed REVIVE – refuse vehicle innovation and validation in Europe – is helping fund two developments using hydrogen fuel cell electric refuse trucks. 
One project will run 15 urban waste collection fuel cell electric trucks in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. The other will develop and operate one FCEV truck in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.  

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