Hyundai’s innovative hydrogen fuel cell electric XCIENT trucks will be on Kiwi roads as soon as next year, following a bold move by local NZ importer Hyundai NZ.

The first of Hyundai New Zealand’s five new fuel cell electric XCIENT trucks arrived in Auckland this week ahead of a local hydrogen demonstration program next year.

Hyundai NZ will convert the Swiss specification XCIENT 6×2 to right-hand-drive and have a body locally fitted ahead of field demonstrations in the second quarter of 2022.

New Zealand is just the third country to have access to these trucks, following Switzerland and South Korea. Hyundai NZ has initially taken Swiss specification to get the programme underway early.

“As a Kiwi owned company, we are big believers of implementing alternative fuel technology here in New Zealand,” says Andy Sinclair, Hyundai NZ general manager.

“We have championed this through the introduction of NZ’s first hydrogen-powered SUV, NEXO, in 2019. Now with the XCIENT FCEV, we have an opportunity to help fast track the large-scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the New Zealand road freight sector.”

The Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-produced heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen. Hyundai NZ will work with local partners in the freight sector to determine where the trucks will operate regionally. This demonstration will give insights into how the trucks fit into timetables, capacity, maintenance schedules, refuelling, drivability and user-training specific to New Zealand.

The XCIENT FCEV has a Siemens supplied electric motor which receives power from two 90kw fuel cells and a 72kWh battery pack. (72kWh). The battery is continuously charged from the fuel cell. The XCIENT FCEV has a clean and quiet motor and the only emission from the process is water.

Compared to an equivalent diesel truck, Hyundai estimates each XCIENT FCEV will save 50 tonnes (based on 80,000km per year) of CO2 emissions per year.