Hyundai has now delivered the first ten units of its fuel cell truck XCIENT to Switzerland. A further 40 are to follow this year, and a total of 1,600 of the H2 trucks are planned for the Swiss market by 2025. Hyundai is also working on an H2 tractor with a 1000-km range.
Hyundai says that they will hand over the the Xcient vehicles to fleet customers from September onwards. Clients can rent the fuel cell trucks in a pay-per-use model, so that fleet customers do not have to make the initial investment. Hyundai is not naming a purchase price for this reason. The rental model is supported by Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a joint venture founded in 2019 by Hyundai and H2 Energy.
The H2 truck will be powered by a new 190 kW fuel cell drive system using two 95-kW stacks connected in parallel. Seven high-pressure hydrogen tanks provide a storage capacity of about 32 kilos of hydrogen to use (around 3 kilos remain to keep the pressure inside the 35-kilo tank). With this capacity, it should be possible for the trucks to achieve a range of around 400 kilometres per refuelling operation. Hyundai specifies the duration of a refuelling process as being only eight to 20 minutes.
The choice of Switzerland for the initial outlay of vehicles was not made at random for this pilot project. The Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles does not apply to emission-free trucks. Thus, the fuel cell trucks are to have the same transport costs per kilometre as a diesel truck. Once the project is up and running in Switzerland, Hyundai plans to extend it to other European countries.
The project is not only testing the suitability of fuel cell trucks for everyday use in delivery operations but also the local production of green hydrogen on a larger scale. The Hydrospider joint venture between Alpiq and H2 Energy which was joined by Linde shortly after was founded specifically for this purpose at in 2019. An electrolyser at the Gösgen hydroelectric power station operated by Alpiq will generate the hydrogen for Hyundai trucks.
“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,” says In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicles at Hyundai Motor.
Hyundai has also announced that, in addition to the Xcient, it will develop a semitrailer tractor that will have a range of 1,000 kilometres. The fuel cell tractor is aimed at global markets such as North America and Europe. Hyundai says that they will equip these with an “improved fuel cell system with high durability and performance”.
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