Despite problems with Nasdaq, a leadership shakeup, and company reorganization, Hyzon Motors has continued its development and deployment of hydrogen-powered trucks and the green hydrogen to power them.
In 2020, the U.S.-based hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle manufacturer said it could deliver thousands of fuel cell trucks and buses by 2023. But by late 2022, Hyzon had only delivered a handful of vehicles and admitted it had failed to report its financial results from the past two quarters, resulting in a risk of expulsion from the Nasdaq stock exchange.
In 2021, then-CEO Craig Knight talked to HDT about Hyzon. “We're kind of an 18-year-old startup,” he explained, saying the parent company, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, was a company he set up in 2003 with Hyzon Chairman George Gu and others. Hyzon was what Knight called “an application business” to apply Horizon’s fuel-cell technology.
Hyzon's Stock Problems
Hyzon went public in the summer of 2021 through a SPAC deal. (A special purpose acquisition company is a company without commercial operations and is formed strictly to raise capital through an initial public offering for the purpose of acquiring or merging with an existing company.)
In September 2021, professional short seller outlet Blue Orca Capital made some serious allegations against Hyzon, saying that essentially it had fakes or inflated announcements of large orders of its trucks from major companies. Blue Orca said Hyzon was in fact a repackaged 17-year-old Chinese company called Horizon that had been struggling with decreasing fuel cell sales.
Hyzon called Blue Orca’s claims misinformed and misleading. But the SEC launched an investigation into Hyzon in January 2022, demanding the company provide documents related to the allegations.
In August 2022, after failing to release its second-quarter financial results, the company said its previous financial reports should no longer be relied upon.
In a statement, the company said, “Hyzon’s management has become aware of revenue recognition timing issues in China. A board-appointed special committee, working with external advisors, is conducting an independent investigation to address these and other governance and compliance issues.”
Separately, the company said it had identified operational inefficiencies at Hyzon Motors Europe B.V., the company’s European joint venture with Holthausen, and retained a third-party consulting firm “to assist the board and management with reassessing Hyzon’s global strategy and operations.” By December, it had agreed to buy out Holthausen, saying the move demonstrated its “commitment to improving its competitive positioning by correcting inefficiencies discovered in the European operations and strategy.”
Hyzon withdrew all financial and operational guidance previously submitted. But it failed to publish new financial reports, leading to the Nasdaq Stock Market saying in February it would delist Hyzon.
Hyzon filed for an appeal and won an extension until the delisting hearing on March 16. After that hearing, Nasdaq granted Hyzon’s request for continued listing of its securities until May 15. The extension requires that on or before May 15, Hyzon will file all its delinquent reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hyzon Leadership Shakeup
In August, the company named Parker Meeks, who was Hyzon’s chief strategy officer, as president and interim chief executive officer, replacing Craig Knight.
Since then, Meeks has directed a strategic review of global operations, according to Hyzon, which led to a reorganization of European operations under new leadership and ownership structures, as well as exit of the commercial truck operations in China to focus on high-priority regions (North America, Europe, Australia).
On March 13, Hyzon announced it had named Meeks CEO officially. The company noted that “during his brief tenure as interim CEO and after nearly two years in company leadership, Meeks achieved significant milestones for Hyzon.”
In January, Hyzon named John Edgley president of international operations to manage Hyzon’s Europe, Australia, and New Zealand business regions. In his expanded role, Edgley will be responsible for leading the global cabover FCEV program. The cabover configuration is preferred across Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
On April 4, Hyzon announced that Pat Griffin, formerly president of vehicle operations, has been named president of North America. He will oversee and manage Hyzon's North America business regions, including full commercial, operational, and financial responsibilities. Griffin also will continue leading Hyzon's global engineering, procurement, and operation efforts, and overseeing fuel cell production, U.S.-based vehicle development and production, and U.S. operations. Griffin previously held leadership roles at companies such as Crane Carrier Company and Fontaine Modification.
Hyzon has launched a search for permanent CFO with a leading executive recruitment firm, as previously disclosed. In the meantime, Jiajia Wu has been interim CFO. Before joining Hyzon in 2021 as chief accounting officer, Wu served as the global director of cost and technical accounting and reporting at UL Solutions.
Hyzon Deployments in Germany and Austria
DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading logistics service providers, is using the first hydrogen-powered semitrailer tractor approved for regular operations in Germany. The fuel cell truck, manufactured by Hyzon, is being operated in daily service between Cologne and Eupen (Belgium).
“The greater Cologne area is very well suited for the deployment of our first hydrogen-powered semitrailer tractor in Germany, especially thanks to the well-developed refueling infrastructure in this region,” said Ralf Többe, Executive Vice President Land Transport for Germany and Switzerland. “Further FCEVs are planned.”
The Hyzon semitrailer tractor with fuel cell technology a range of around 400 kilometers, while the maximum payload is higher than for battery-electric trucks. Another major advantage of hydrogen technology in everyday use is the fast refueling process of around 15 minutes.
DB Schenker is using the Hyzon truck in a pay-per-use model offered by Hylane, a rental company specializing in CO2-neutral commercial vehicles. The driving and operating data from the regular service on the Cologne - Eupen route will also be used by Hylane to further improve its usage-based rental models for CO2-neutral mobility.
Meanwhile, Grocery retailer MPREIS has started operating Austria’s first hydrogen-powered truck, according to an announcement from Hyzon. The green hydrogen used to power the new vehicle is being produced by MPREIS itself. Over the next few years, the company will gradually convert its entire fleet to fuel-cell trucks.
Producing Green Hydrogen
In January, Hyzon announced that it is collaborating with Raven SR Inc., a renewable fuels company, and Chevron New Energies, a division of Chevron Corp., to commercialize operations of a green waste-to-hydrogen production facility in Richmond, California, to supply green hydrogen fuel to transportation markets in Northern California.
The facility will be owned by a newly formed company, Raven SR S1. The facility is targeted to come online in the first quarter of 2024. Chevron holds a 50% equity stake in Raven SR 1, Raven SR holds a 30% stake and Hyzon owns the remaining 20%.
To produce the hydrogen, the project is expected to divert up to 99 wet tons of green and food waste per day from Republic Services' West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill into its non-combustion Steam/CO2 Reforming process, producing up to 2,400 metric-tons per year of renewable hydrogen.