1 500 Dutch-built Hyzon fuel cell trucks for New Zealand
American fuel cell truck developer Hyzon will deliver in the next five years 1 500 heavy-duty trucks on hydrogen to New Zealand’s Hiringa Energy. The New Zealand hydrogen specialist builds a countrywide network of hydrogen stations and offers the trucks to clients for sale or leasing contracts.
Hyzon, a spin-off from Singapore’s Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies based in Rochester, N.Y., will build the trucks for New Zealand in Northern Holland in a joint venture with Holthausen Clean Technology BV. The latter is a family business that specializes in converting diesel trucks into fuel cell trucks.
Not a Nikola story?
It may look like Hyzon is popping up from nowhere like that other American fuel cell truck developer, Nikola, which still has to build its first actual truck. But in this case, the company is building on 17 years of experience in fuel cell systems and has already put more than 500 heavy-duty fuel cell trucks on the road in 2019-2020.
Hyzon used to be the Heavy Vehicle Business Unit (HVBU) of Horizon and was responsible for developing fuel cell systems. It has operations in Europe, Singapore, Australia, and China. Just a few days ago, Hyzon closed a deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp, to go public on Nasdaq.
Up to 58 tons GCM
The trucks for New Zealand will be built in a 6×4 configuration, include a sleeper cab option, and will have a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 58 metric tons and a range of 680 km, the press release says. More technical details aren’t released.
They will be built in Winschoten (Netherlands) in a joint venture with the Holthausen family. Carl Holthausen and his son Max decided seven years ago to change tack and convert the traditional oil and industrial gas supplying business into ‘Clean Technology’ with ‘green’ gas and hydrogen.
They even have their own ‘green hydrogen’ production set up with a 42 000 unit solar panel park, built on a former refuse dump, providing electricity for the company’s electrolyzer to make the hydrogen.
A hobby that got out of hand
The hydrogen truck business started as a hobby that got out of hand when the local authorities asked the Holthausen family to convert an old street sweeper on diesel to hydrogen. Since then, Holthausen became a local name in converting trucks and vans to FCEVs as well. Last year, the company fused with American Hyzon, which resulted in today’s mega-order.
Sinds the fusion, the American-Dutch company delivers trucks in three classes, from 24 to 44 tons and beyond. The trucks themselves are bought – without the diesel engine – from classic truck manufacturers like DAF and converted to FCEV.
Powerful compact fuel cell
Today’s Hyzon fuel cells deliver up to 300 kW, to become 500 kW soon, and are among the most compact ones on the market. Making them easy to install in the space normally taken by the diesel engine. The benefit is that the converted fuel cell tractor is lighter than its diesel sibling, which results in higher load capacity.
After the fusion, the plan was to scale up production to 800 units in 2021 and 2 000 by 2023. With the New Zealand deal, that should be feasible. The first trucks for Hiringa Energy are to be delivered by the end of this year.