NZ Truck & Driver News

 
Hydrogen Hyundai is here

Hydrogen Hyundai is here

NZ Truck & Driver News

 December 2021   

New Zealand’s hydrogen fuel cell electric truck era is dawning with the November arrival of the first Hyundai XCIENT FCEV.

Hyundai NZ’s first fuel cell truck is being readied for evaluation and demonstration assignments, starting in the second quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, four more hydrogen-fuelled XCIENTs will arrive during the year.

Their presence on Kiwi roads in 2022 will position NZ at the forefront of Hyundai’s global hydrogen push: The only other locations so far with fuel cell XCIENTs involved in road trials are Switzerland and South Korea.

The South Korean-built 6x2 rigid will be converted to right-hand-drive here and will have a locally-built body fitted.

Hyundai NZ general manager Andy Sinclair says of the arrival of NZ’s first hydrogen truck: “This is an exciting milestone in NZ’s journey to a zero carbon future – and it’s just the start of things to come.

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New Zealand’s hydrogen fuel cell electric truck era is dawning with the November arrival of the first Hyundai XCIENT FCEV.

Hyundai NZ’s first fuel cell truck is being readied for evaluation and demonstration assignments, starting in the second quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, four more hydrogen-fuelled XCIENTs will arrive during the year.

Their presence on Kiwi roads in 2022 will position NZ at the forefront of Hyundai’s global hydrogen push: The only other locations so far with fuel cell XCIENTs involved in road trials are Switzerland and South Korea.

The South Korean-built 6x2 rigid will be converted to right-hand-drive here and will have a locally-built body fitted.

Hyundai NZ general manager Andy Sinclair says of the arrival of NZ’s first hydrogen truck: “This is an exciting milestone in NZ’s journey to a zero carbon future – and it’s just the start of things to come.

“Many conversations are happening around the development of hydrogen production plants and plans to build hydrogen fuelling stations. In the interim, we will fuel our trucks, using our mobile refueller.

“We have long been a champion locally for the use of electric vehicles and alternative fuel technologies. We now have an opportunity to help fast-track the large-scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the NZ road freight sector.”

After being shown off to key stakeholders, the XCIENT was booked to begin “localisation and preparation to enter real-world daily logistics operations.”

This first XCIENT and the others to soon follow are joining Hyundai NZ’s existing FCEV fleet of three Nexo SUVs – used for similar evaluation work in the passenger vehicle sector since 2019.

The NZ XCIENT project is, in part, supported by the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund (LEVCF) administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Earlier in 2021 Hyundai NZ received $500,000 towards the project from the LEVCF, which offers up to $6.5 million to projects that will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and other low emission vehicles.  

Hyundai says the initial fleet of five zero emission trucks will be evaluated in real-world daily logistics operations, with the aim of demonstrating FCEVs as a heavy-duty, reliable, cost-effective replacement for diesel trucks.

They’re promoted as offering advantages over battery-electric trucks, including a longer range, shorter refuelling time and greater payload.

Sinclair says: “The project will allow us to gain insight with vehicle efficiencies and driving range while in service – with two types of configurations, in the form of a rigid truck application and/or combination trailer-towing applications.”

EECA’s transport portfolio manager Richard Briggs says: “EECA considered there was value in supporting the project, as it will provide rich data on the viability, supply of fuel and vehicles and operational cost comparatives in the NZ heavy freight transport context.”

The largest deployment of XCIENT FCEVs is in Switzerland. Hyundai Motor Company and Swiss company H2 Energy – with the support of the Swiss Government – formed Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility in 2019. By 2025 it expects to have 1600 XCIENT FCEVs in operation in Switzerland.

It’s the production of the Swiss trucks that has enabled Hyundai NZ to work closely with Hyundai Motor Company and order the Kiwi FCEVs.

The trial trucks will initially use Hyundai’s own refueller based in Auckland. It will utilise other hydrogen refuelling stations from other local partners once they are operational.

When Hyundai NZ began its FCEV commitment it had to invest in its own hydrogen production plant and refuelling facility in Auckland. It operates at 700-bar – the common pressure for hydrogen storage in passenger cars.

To operate the XCIENT FCEV an additional 350-bar containerised refuelling station has been sourced from Australia’s H2H Energy.

Its increased capability and its containerisation will allow it to be deployed around NZ, enabling trial fleet users to experience the hydrogen XCIENT first-hand – even in areas where there is no H2 refuelling infrastructure yet. The portable station can also act as backup unit for larger stations in the future.

The XCIENT’s technology includes dual 95kW fuel cell stacks (effectively two of the units that power the Nexo SUV), providing 190kW of electric power generation.

Hyundai claims maximum output figures of 350kW and 3400Nm from the Siemens drive motor. There is a 661V/73.2kWh high voltage battery pack to store the electricity produced by the fuel cell stacks. A six-speed Allison automatic transmission is standard.

Hydrogen is stored at 350-bar and the XCIENT can be refuelled in eight to 20 minutes. The tank carries 32.09kg of hydrogen – giving the truck an estimated range of 400 kilometres, running at up to a 40-tonne GCM.

Based on 80,000kms of zero emissions driving per year, each XCIENT FCEV saves 62t of CO2 emissions compared to an equivalent diesel truck.  


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