Hyundai’s fuel cell truck to take Europe from Switzerland
While other major truck manufacturers are still experimenting with hydrogen for heavy transport, Hyundai’s first ten fuel cell trucks of a fleet of 50 are on their way to Switzerland. The 34-ton Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell with a range of 400 km will be leased by a joint venture with Swiss company H2 Energy to commercial truck operators on a pay-per-use basis.
The South Korean manufacturer, who was the first to mass-produce fuel cell cars with the ix35 and the Nexo, plans to take on the rest of Europe from its ‘base camp’ in Switzerland. It wants to roll out a total of 1 600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks by 2025.
Hydropower for clean hydrogen
Hyundai chose the mountainous country partly because of the abundance of hydropower to produce ‘clean’ hydrogen without CO2 emissions. Developing a network of hydrogen filling stations is part of the setup. For the project, Hyundai decided in 2019 to partner with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy in a joint venture called Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility.
Another important reason for building a business case is the Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles, which does not apply for zero-emission trucks. According to Hyundai, this will help to nearly equal the hauling costs per kilometer of a classic – initially much cheaper – diesel truck.
The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive the heavy-duty trucks up and down the mountainous terrain in the region, says Hyundai.
Range of 400 km
The XCIENT, a Day Cab truck with a 4×2 drive system, uses a dual fuel cell stack delivering 190 kW (95 kW x 2 EA) and feeding a Siemens electric motor (350 kW/3 400 Nm). It is equipped with a 32,09 kg hydrogen tank at 350 bar, which can be filled up in 8 to 20 minutes.
In a truck plus trailer combination of 34 tons with refrigeration, it has an average range of 400 km. Hyundai is working on a long-distance truck tractor version with a 1 000 km range too.
This 400 km range version is developed to accommodate specifically for the Swiss clients that will use from September on the trucks on a pay-per-use base. The latter has the advantage they don’t have to invest heavily in the fleet themselves.