Hyundai launches world’s 1st mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty truck

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Hyundai Motor Shared Fuel Cell Commercial Vehicle Roadmap and launches XCIENT at digital event

The South Korean carmaker presented the first seven hydrogen-powered trucks to customers in Switzerland, out of 50 such vehicles scheduled this year to bring zero-emission commercial vehicles to European roads.

Hyundai hopes to build and deliver thousands of hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty trucks to customers in Europe, China and North America over the next decade.

For long haul, supporters say hydrogen-powered trucks have an advantage over electric rivals: they have a greater range and require less charging times. However, their uptake and mass production has been slow because they are expensive.

Hyundai has been partnering with Swiss companies to build a value chain covering the production of green hydrogen from hydropower, hydrogen charging stations and the service and maintenance of the trucks. The customers, among them a famous supermarket chain, will be leasing the trucks from Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) to transport goods around the country, backed by the new hydrogen infrastructure.

Leases are on a pay-per-use basis that does not require an initial investment. Hyundai plans to put 1,600 trucks on Swiss roads by 2025.

According to cnet.com, the 4×2 cargo trucks are powered by a pair 95 kW fuel cell stacks borrowed from the Hyundai Nexo passenger SUV that convert hydrogen into water vapor — the truck’s only tailpipe emission — and loose electrons, the latter of which make their way to a 350 kW electric motor that sends 2,360 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed Allison gearbox to the wheels. Any excess electricity generated or recaptured during braking is stored in a 73.2 kWh battery buffer. Hyundai plans for production capacity of 2,000 units of Xcient fuel cells per year by 2021 to support its expansion plans as demand for clean transport grows.

It views Switzerland as a test case for hydrogen fuel cells in heavy goods transport, said In Cheol Lee, executive vice president and head of the commercial vehicle division at Hyundai Motor Company.

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