More than three years after Hyundai Motor first showed off a hydrogen-powered concept truck in the U.S., the company has debuted the commercialized model of the Xcient fuel cell tractor.
The first indication we had that Hyundai was considering a hydrogen-powered tractor for North America was in 2019, where it showed off a futuristic fuel-cell-electric concept vehicle. As is the case with concept vehicles, what’s entering the U.S. market is a more workaday vehicle, a fuel-cell version of its Xcient Euro-style cabover.
Hyundai premiered the 6x4 Excient fuel-cell tractor for the North American commercial vehicle market at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California.
First launched in 2020, Xcient Fuel Cell has been deployed in five countries — Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Korea and New Zealand — and has accumulated more than 4 million miles so far.
The model shown at the event is the 6x4 tractor equipped with two 90 kW hydrogen fuel cell systems (total 180 kW power) and a 350 kW e-motor. Its gross combination weight is a maximum 82,000 lbs and it offers a driving range of over 450 miles per charge even when fully loaded, according to the company.
The FCEV Xcient
The day-cab 6x4 Xcient shown is 346 inches long, 102 inches wide, 161 inches high, with a 223-inch wheelbase. Hyundai said the COE design provides better visibility, fewer blind spots, and easier maneuvering in tight quarters.
A V-shaped mesh grille maximizes airflow over the fuel cell stack for improved cooling. There’s a fixed step bumper for easy windshield access, LED headlamps and rear combination tail lamps.
Easy-access door steps provide access to the cab. An 8-inch touchscreen provides infotainment and connects to a driver’s mobile device, and there’s integrated wireless mobile phone charging. There’s a “truck-on” alert if drivers exit the cab with it still running. An extra-wide-angle lens paired with the 8-inch screen gives drivers a view behind the vehicle. The driver’s seat has heated coils and a cooling ventilation system. A utility mode shuts down drivetrain and steering power when parked but still powers HVAC, lighting and multimedia systems.
In case of a crash, the hydrogen tank shuts off to minimize the risk of electric shock and collateral accidents. An easy hill start system prevents the truck from rolling back when starting again on a steep slope.
Integrated Hydrogen Ecosystem
Hyundai officials shared their commitment to hydrogen mobility and the company’s ambition to foster the development of a clean hydrogen ecosystem.
“We firmly believe that hydrogen is one of the most powerful and pragmatic solutions for achieving our vision of 'Progress for Humanity' with emission-free mobility as a fundamental pillar for a sustainable society,” said Ken Ramirez, EVP and head of global commercial vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell business at Hyundai Motor. “We now look beyond mobility toward an integrated hydrogen ecosystem, from production of hydrogen to its storage, transport and delivery.”
The company said it will leverage local partnerships to establish a hydrogen commercial vehicle value chain. Earlier this year, Hyundai announced a joint effort with FirstElement Fuel to test Hyundai’s Xcient fuel cell heavy-duty trucks in California, fueling at FirstElement Fuel’s True Zero network of hydrogen refueling stations, as well as with a high-capacity mobile refueler.