Company Plans 1,000 For Switzerland
During this week’s IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 in Hannover, Germany, Hyundai introduced a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck and announced plans to introduce it in Europe’s eco-friendly commercial vehicle market. The Hyundai Fuel Cell Semi may beat the Tesla electric Semi to the market.
Hydrogen fuel cell semi-trucks are beginning to show some promise in the United States as well. In the U.S., Toyota took the wraps off its new version of the Project Portal prototype in August to test at ports in Southern California. Startup Nikola Motor Co. claims to have received close to 9,000 non-binding orders for its upcoming fuel cell electric truck.
Fuel cell vehicles are not new to Hyundai. The Korean automaker launched the Tucson Fuel Cell in 2013, followed by Nexo this year. It has sold around 1,140 fuel cell vehicles so far, while Toyota sold 6,700 Mirai hydrogen cars since its launch in 2014.
An Aerodynamic Design
The fuel cell truck was developed from the Hyundai XCient truck currently in use throughout Asia. The XCient also recently completed South Korea’s first domestic highway journey with an autonomously navigated semi-trailer truck.
The rendering shows the truck with numerous aerodynamic pieces, including a streamlined cabin, spokeless dish wheels, a spoiler and a side protector that runs alongside the truck. Small interconnected hexagons surround the lit-up badge on the nose of the semi, portraying it as a scientific hydrogen symbol of what the truck is all about.
The truck is equipped with up to eight hydrogen storage tanks providing energy to two parallel fuel cell stacks on board. The fuel cell system produces 190 kilowatts of power, and an electric motor makes the equivalent of 465 horsepower and 2,500 pound-feet of torque. The truck is capable of up to about 250 miles of range. The hydrogen tanks can be refilled in seven minutes.
The semi will be available in 4×2 or 6×2 configurations and will be equipped with advanced safety systems. These include front collision avoidance assist and lane departure warning systems.
First Sales Going To Switzerland
During the IAA Commercial Vehicles show, Hyundai said in a statement it will partner with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy and fuel-cell operators to provide 1,000 hydrogen trucks in the country over the next five years.
“We are not planning just purely 1,000 vehicles, and then stop the business. We expect that much more is coming afterwards,” said Mark Freymueller, a commercial vehicle director at Hyundai. He added that Hyundai would look at launching the fuel cell semi in the United States, China and other European countries.
The commercial trucks will begin rolling out at the end of 2019, which will likely make Hyundai the first company to commercially produce a heavy-duty truck powered by fuel cells. Hyundai and H2 Energy will build hydrogen stations across Switzerland that will fuel both commercial vehicles and passenger cars. The companies estimate that about 50 stations will be built to support the 1,000 trucks.
Hyundai is not finished introducing fuel cell vehicles. The company said it was developing a hydrogen fuel cell truck for the medium-duty market as well. To help facilitate that, Hyundai announced a partnership with Audi in June to share each other’s hydrogen car technology and components to bring down production costs and make the technology profitable.
In the meantime, Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors are hedging their bets on hydrogen trucks and cars with a plan to release 14 battery electric vehicles by 2025.
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