Hyundai has shipped the first 10 of its Xcient Fuel Cell trucks to Switzerland, which will be available for lease through H2 Energy with no initial investment for fleet customers.
The company is billing the Xcient Fuel Cell as the first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck, so those 10 are just the beginning. It plans to not only ship 50 of them to Switzerland this year, but subsequently to roll out 1,600 of the trucks by 2025.
“Xcient Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project,” said In Cheol Lee, executive vice president and head of commercial vehicle division at Hyundai Motor. “Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem, where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like Xcient Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation.”
Hyundai’s experience producing fuel-cell electric passenger vehicles, the ix35 and the Nexo, combined with its fuel-cell technology and mass-production capability, helped motivate the manufacturer to move into the commercial truck vehicle sector, according to Lee.
The combination of the 190-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with dual 95-kW fuel cell stacks and seven 32kg hydrogen tanks produces approximately a 250-mile driving range and an average refueling time of 15 minutes.
Hyundai is also developing a long-distance tractor that would be capable of traveling more than 600 miles on a single charge, which will be shipped to North America and Europe.
Switzerland was chosen as its pilot country due to the Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles, which does not apply for zero-emission trucks and is close to equaling the hauling costs of the fuel cell truck compared to a regular diesel truck.
In other hydrogen-related company news, Hyundai’s HDC-6 Neptune concept, which was displayed at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show last year, is also on track for commercialization, according to the company. An improved fuel cell system for the Neptune is being developed and will be launched in the next three or four years.
Hyundai's commitment to developing hydrogen fuel cell technology was highlighted in its December 2018 report, “Fuel Cell Vision 2030.” It included plans to secure a 700,000-unit-a-year capacity of fuel cell systems for automobiles as well as vessels, rail cars, drones and power generators by 2030.