The Fuso Vision F-Cell is a just-rolled-out “fully drivable concept model” intended to help “explore the benefits of fuel cell technology” for use in commercial vehicles, according to Daimler.
 - Artist's Rendering: Daimler

The Fuso Vision F-Cell is a just-rolled-out “fully drivable concept model” intended to help “explore the benefits of fuel cell technology” for use in commercial vehicles, according to Daimler.

Artist's Rendering: Daimler

Daimler Trucks & Buses has set for itself the lofty strategic goal of offering only new commercial vehicles that are carbon-dioxide (CO2) neutral while being driven (in what the company calls “tank-to-wheel” operation) in the so-called triad markets of North America, Europe, and Japan by 2039.

The Germany-based OEM laid out in an Oct. 25 press release the roadmap it will follow to get there. First off, its plans call for full production of battery-electric drive vehicles for those three key markets by 2022.

From there, Daimler Trucks & Buses said that by the end of that next decade, it will extend its range of CO2-neutral vehicles by putting hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles into full production.

The truck maker emphasized its confidence in reaching its production goal by pointing out that it  celebrated the world premiere of its Fuso brand fuel-cell prototype, the Vision F-Cell, at the Tokyo Motor Show on Oct. 25, “thus further strengthening its activity in the hydrogen field.” In addition, all European Daimler Trucks & Buses plants will be CO2-neutral by the year 2022 with all other plants to follow.

“At Daimler Trucks & Buses we are clearly committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement and thus to the decarbonization of our industry,” said Martin Daum, head of Daimler Trucks & Buses.

“Having CO2-neutral transport on the road by 2050 is our ultimate goal,” Daum continued. “This can only be achieved if competitive conditions for CO2-neutral transport are created for our customers in terms of costs and infrastructure. As it takes about ten years to completely renew a fleet until 2050, our ambition is to offer ‘tank-to-wheel’ locally CO2-neutral new vehicles in the ‘triad’ by the year 2039.”

He stated that “truly CO2-neutral transport only works with battery-electric or hydrogen-based drive. We were the first manufacturer to seriously commit to electromobility in heavy trucks and, today, are pioneers and in all segments with electric vehicles in customer use.”

However, Daum also emphasized the reality on the ground. “Locally CO2-neutral trucks and buses won’t sell themselves, because even in 2040 -- despite all efforts by manufacturers -- the acquisition and total cost of ownership of trucks and buses with electric drives will be still higher than for diesel vehicles.”

To make up that diesel differential, he said government incentives are needed to make locally CO2-neutral vehicles competitive. “Particularly necessary,” said Daum, “[is] converting and staggering tolls Europe-wide based on CO2 values whereby CO2-neutral vehicles would get significant relief, a targeted subsidy program for buses and for a nationwide charging and hydrogen infrastructure as, well as uniform standards for the transport and refueling of hydrogen.”

The OEM noted that it rolled out its first limited production all-electric truck in 2017,  the Fuso eCanter light-duty truck. More than 140 eCanters are now in customer service in cities around the world, including New York, Tokyo, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Lisbon. The Mercedes-Benz eActros electric heavy-duty longhauler is in “intensive use by customers in Germany and Switzerland” as part of the eActros Innovation Fleet. And the  U.S, the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 and the heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadia are “undergoing intensive field tests with customers.”

Related: Will Future Trucks Be Powered by Batteries or Fuel Cells?

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