Honda shows Class 8 fuel cell truck concept in Vegas

Honda has unveiled its Class 8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Concept at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas. The concept truck is based on a Peterbilt chassis and offers up to 400 miles (644 km) of range, but Honda has no plans to produce the truck by itself.

Along with Toyota and General Motors, the Japanese manufacturer Honda is one of the biggest supporters of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an alternative to battery-electric drivetrains. Honda has created a joint venture with the latter to produce hydrogen fuel cells in the US, which are used in this concept truck.

400-mile range

The Honda Class 8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Concept uses three 80 kW fuel cells for a total output of 240 kW, feeding a 120 kWh high voltage buffer battery. Thanks to 82 kg of 700-bar hydrogen storage, the fully-loaded truck (GCW of 37,273 kg, with a payload of 24,255 kilograms) manages up to 400 miles of range, more than most battery-powered trucks, with quicker refueling and more payload – all fundamental aspects for transport companies.

Looking for partners

However, Honda is not planning to build these trucks themselves, as evidenced by the use of Peterbilt chassis to create the concept vehicle. The Japanese company is looking for business partners to introduce its fuel cell systems in North American trucks. It has already collaborated with Isuzu on the Giga Fuel Cell truck in its home market.

Honda has identified four critical markets for its hydrogen fuel cells: passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, stationary storage solutions, and construction equipment / Honda

Hydrogen stations are only available in California

However, just like in Europe, the hydrogen refueling infrastructure remains a big drawback for using this type of drivetrain for commercial and private purposes. Only California (which has much more stringent zero-emission regulations for transport companies) has hydrogen stations available to the public, mainly concentrated around Los Angeles and San Francisco.

While hydrogen offers a more attractive zero-emissions alternative for long-haul trucking thanks to its bigger range and higher payload, much development will be needed to make it a viable option. For now, small-scale operations limited to California seem to be the main goal for truckmakers.


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