Gebrüder Weiss, a Swiss-based transport and logistics company, has added a Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell truck to its fleet. - Photo: Gebrüder Weiss

Gebrüder Weiss, a Swiss-based transport and logistics company, has added a Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell truck to its fleet.

Photo: Gebrüder Weiss

A new study from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA, which also includes truck makers) shows there are currently 6.2 million medium and heavy commercial vehicles on the European Union’s roads, averaging 13 years old – and that almost 98% of all these trucks run on diesel.

Only 2,300 – or 0.04% of the total fleet – are zero-emission trucks, according to the 2021 “Vehicles in Use” report published earlier this year.

European truck makers estimate around 200,000 zero-emission trucks will have to be in operation by 2030 to meet the EU’s carbon dioxide reduction targets for heavy-duty trucks.

Based on ACEA’s new data, this would require a staggering 100-fold increase in less than 10 years. In its recently published Mobility Strategy, however, the European Commission laid out the objective to have some 80,000 zero-emission trucks on the road by 2030, which in fact falls far short of what is required by the CO2 regulation (-30% emissions).

“European truck manufacturers are committed to bringing zero-emission trucks to the market and will be rapidly increasing their range of zero-emission vehicle offerings over the next few years,” said ACEA Director General Eric-Mark Huitema. “However, they cannot make such a radical and unprecedented shift alone.”

To make zero-emission trucks the preferred choice of transport operators, urgent action is needed on European and member state levels. This includes establishing CO2-based road charges, energy taxation based on the carbon and energy content of fuels, a sound CO2 emissions pricing system and, most importantly, a dense network of charging and refueling infrastructure suitable for trucks, concludes the ACEA report.

Gebrüder Weiss, a Swiss-based transport and logistics company, has added a Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell truck to its fleet. The truck is designed to transport around 25 tons of goods with a range of around 600 kilometers (about 370 miles).Gebrüder Weiss will use the truck primarily for a customer in the renewable energy sector. Hyundai plans to product and deliver 2,000 hydrogen trucks by the end of the year.

The Swiss network of hydrogen filling stations is still being built, but it is comprehensive enough to enable use of such vehicles across the whole of eastern Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the number of countries that have deployed hydrogen fueling stations now stands at 33, with 584 hydrogen stations deployed by year-end 2020, according to a study by Information Trends, a market research company. Japan is the leader with close to 150 stations, but the fastest growth is in China.

New Briefs from Around the World

Daimler Truck and the Volvo Group have created their previously announced fuel-cell joint venture and named it Cellcentric. The joint venture will develop, produce and commercialize fuel-cell systems for use in heavy-duty trucks as the primary focus, as well as other applications. Their goal is to start with customer tests of trucks with fuel cells in about three years and to start production during the second half of this decade. Volvo and Daimler own equal interests in the joint venture but continue to be competitors in all other areas.

Cummins Inc. and Isuzu Motors Limited announced a global mid-range diesel powertrain and an advanced engineering collaboration, another step forward in the Isuzu Cummins Powertrain Partnership formed in 2019. Cummins will provide Isuzu mid-range B6.7 diesel platforms for use in medium-size trucks. Isuzu chassis powered by Cummins B6.7 engines will be introduced in North America in 2021, followed by Japan, Southeast Asia and other regions.

Scania will test self-driving trucks on the E4 motorway in Sweden in collaboration with TuSimple. The trucks will have Level 4 autonomy on the SAE scale for self-driving vehicles, which means that the trucks are driven autonomously but for safety reasons are supervised by a driver. A test engineer will also be on board to monitor the information transmitted to the truck from the sensors that enable autonomous driving. Scania believes is the first in Europe to test Level 4 technology on a motorway and with payload.

German powertrain developer FEV Europe believes it can use additive manufacturing methods (similar to 3-D printing) to make major components of a diesel engine roughly 21% lighter. FEV says its research project shows this can also increase the efficiency of engine functions such as cooling and oil circulation. The aim is to further reduce vehicle weight and increase powertrain efficiency. The project focused on cylinder heads and crankcases in 2L diesel engines.

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