New Delhi: South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company on Monday announced its plan to deploy the company’s latest hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks in California, for two publicly-funded projects to improve air quality in the region. The demo trucks are developed based on XCIENT Fuel Cell technology of Hyundai for heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen. The company aims to deploy 30 trucks in northern California by early 2023.
Hyundai Motor teamed with public and private partners in the US to operate 30 units of Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, starting from the second quarter of 2023 making it the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the US.
XCIENT Fuel Cell made its debut in Switzerland last year and has since driven over one million km in real-world conditions to prove its commercial viability. The American model has a maximum driving range of 500 miles (800 km), the company said in a media release.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) recently awarded USD22 million in grants to a consortium led by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Hyundai Motor to support this project, as well as USD 7 million in additional grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem. Public and private project partners have come together to take a big step forward in decarburizing freight and goods movement.Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director, Fuels and Transportation Division, CEC
Hannon Rasool, deputy director of Fuels and Transportation Division at the California Energy Commission, said, “We are proud to fund this hallmark deployment of 30 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and improve the air quality in Northern California.”
“These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem. Public and private project partners have come together to take a big step forward in decarburizing freight and goods movement, as part of CARB and CEC’s clean air initiatives.” he added.
The joint venture also intends to build a high-capacity hydrogen refueling station in Oakland, California, capable of supporting up to 50 trucks with a 30-kilogram average fill.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) also awarded Hyundai Motor a USD 500,000 grant to demonstrate two Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty trucks in Southern California. The project, which is largely funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helps the South Coast Air Basin meet clean air standards by reducing emissions from diesel trucks.
Hyundai Motor and its fleet partner plan to start operating these trucks in August for long-haul freight operations between warehouses in southern California for 12 months. Hyundai will also work with the market leader in hydrogen refueling stations in California, First Element Fuel (FEF), to utilize three hydrogen refueling stations in the region to refuel the trucks.
The automaker said it was able to gain the support of California funding agencies and local communities to demonstrate its hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty commercial vehicles, in large part due to the XCIENT Fuel Cell truck’s proven track record in Europe. Hyundai announced the delivery of 1600 XCIENT trucks in Europe by 2025 with 46 units already delivered in Switzerland in 2020.
The company claims that the Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks will have a maximum driving range of 500 miles, as hydrogen will be stored on the vehicle in tanks rated at 700 bar, or about 10,000 psi, of pressure. The maximum gross combination weight of the Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell truck will be more than 37 tons, or about 82,000 lbs.
The Korean automaker plans to accelerate its effort to officially launch its zero-emission commercial trucks in North America and is already in talks with multiple logistics and commercial companies that are interested in leveraging hydrogen technology for their freight delivery and drayage services in the U.S.