Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks hit the road in Switzerland
On this Wednesday, the seven first Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks of a fleet of fifty have hit the road in Switzerland. The trucks are rented on a pay-per-use base, offering a flat fee per kilometer, including all expenses and the hydrogen needed for seven Swiss distribution companies, among which Coop and Migros.
Hyundai is the first to commercialize this way a fleet of serial-built fuel cell trucks. By 2025, Hyundai plans to send out a fleet of 1 600 hydrogen trucks on European roads. In America, it aims to roll out 12 000 heavy trucks up to 36 tons with fuel cells by 2030, and 27 000 in China.
Dual fuel cell stack
The XCIENT, a 19-ton 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, filled up in 8 to 20 minutes.
A truck plus trailer combination of 34 tons with refrigeration has an average range of 400 km. Hyundai is working on a long-distance truck tractor version with a 1 000 km range as well. The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive the heavy-duty trucks up and down the region’s mountainous terrain, says Hyundai.
This 400-km-range version is developed to accommodate the Swiss clients that will use the trucks on a pay-per-use base. The latter has the advantage they don’t have to invest heavily in the fleet itself.
Fleet of 1 600 trucks
Hyundai, the South Korean car and truck manufacturer, has established its hydrogen stronghold in Europe’s heart, intending to put a fleet of 1 600 hydrogen trucks on European roads by 2025. That’s likely to happen via Germany first, which already has a network of hydrogen filling stations, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries.
Hyundai chose mountainous Switzerland 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 set-up. 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 nearly equal the hauling costs per kilometer of a classic – initially much cheaper – diesel truck.