Hyundai has announced that it will start to sell hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks in the United States by 2022.
The Korean manufacturer said the U.S. rollout of the trucks would begin with an initial pilot program in California next year and follows the company’s recently initiated hydrogen-truck operations in Switzerland, where 10 of its Xcient Fuel Cell Trucks hit the road recently.
Hyundai said it planned to ship 50 trucks this year and increase production to 1,600 our year by 2025. The truck maker plans to sell the trucks to large clients that operate fleets of between 3,000 to 5,000 trucks in order to mitigate the lack of hydrogen fuel infrastructure because large fleets usually run vehicles on set routes.
Hyundai’s announcement about its U.S. hydrogen-truck plans comes on the heels of trouble for hydrogen truck startup Nikola, which is under investigation by US corporate authorities after a short-seller accused the company of misrepresenting its technology to investors, although Nikola has refuted the claims and says it has called on the US corporate regulator to investigate the accuser.
Although Tesla boss and electric-vehicle proponent Elon Musk has dismissed by Hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks, they are clearly becoming increasingly the flavour of the time with major automotive giants, including Toyota, GM, Iveco, Daimler, Volvo, and now Hyundai all committing to the technology for heavy duty and ling range truck operations. .
While Hyundai reportedly called Toyota its strongest competitor on the hydrogen-mobility scene, Nikola has also is seeking to leave its stake in the hydrogen-powered truck market. Nikola recently announced its partnership with General Motors. that saw the automotive giant take an 11 per cent stake in Nikola and agree to help manufacture its electric pickups and hydrogen prime movers.
One advantage fuel-cell-powered trucks have over those powered purely by electricity stored in batteries is weight. While one area of keen focus in battery research and development is devoted to making batteries weigh less, fuel-cell trucks can convert stored hydrogen—the lightest and most plentiful gas on the planet—into electricity and water vapour to power the truck on the road. However the limited availability of hydrogen refuelling stations at the moment is the biggest challenge for truck makers and fleets, but with more and more manufacturers announcing plans for H2 powered vehicles. the demand and critical mass required to trigger investment in fuelling infrastructure will follow fairly quickly.