Nikola praised the Hydrogen for Trucks legislation. The Nikola Two FCEV Sleeper, designed for up...

Nikola praised the Hydrogen for Trucks legislation. The Nikola Two FCEV Sleeper, designed for up to 900-mile runs, could be in production by 2024.

Photo: Nikola

Bipartisan federal legislation to support the adoption of hydrogen-fuel-cell technology in trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles has been introduced in both the Senate and the House.

U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Hydrogen for Trucks Act, S.3806, to support the adoption of heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations. Companion legislation in the House, H.R.7064, is being led by Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.).

Supporters of the bills explained in a release that heavy-duty vehicles account for only a small fraction of vehicles on the road but contribute nearly a quarter of all transportation greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions — just water vapor and warm air — providing an opportunity for cleaner forms of transportation without sacrificing reliability or range.

Heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles are an emerging technology just beginning to enter the market, and first adopters face cost barriers and risks that require federal support to overcome. The Hydrogen for Trucks Act provides financial support to fleet owners and operators looking to make the switch to zero-emission vehicles, and also aims to support the development of fueling stations.

The Hydrogen for Trucks Act would:

  • Incentivize the adoption of heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by covering the cost difference between these vehicles and traditional diesel vehicles.
  • Encourage parallel deployment of vehicles and fueling stations, addressing the chicken-and-egg challenge that exists with vehicles and fueling infrastructure.
  • Provide data and benchmarks for different types of fleet operations, helping to incentivize private investment and accelerate deployment.

The bill is endorsed by Air Liquide, Air Products, Bakken Energy, Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Action, Carbon Direct, Chemours, Clean Air Task Force, Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, Cummins, Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Nikola, PGT Trucking, RMI, and Third Way.

“The time for action is now, and this legislation will help accelerate decarbonization of the transportation industry,” said Amy Adams, vice president of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for Cummins, in a release. “It is critical that we invest in both hydrogen infrastructure and vehicle technologies to deploy the solutions required to combat climate change.”

PGT Trucking said it is investing in trucks that will operate using hydrogen as a fuel source. “While trucking companies and equipment manufacturers are making substantial investments and taking risks toward the development of various hydrogen-fueled transportation solutions, it is critical that an infrastructure providing robust distribution channels of hydrogen fuel be deployed nationwide,” said Gregg Troian, president of PGT.

This is one of the latest in a number of other bills that have been introduced in both chambers this session aimed to accelerate hydrogen-fuel-cell adoption, including a number that would incentivize the production of “green” hydrogen.

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