Hyundai has announced it has delivered its first 10 XCIENT Hydrogen Fuel Cell trucks in Switzerland, making them the first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty trucks to be delivered in the world.

Hyundai has beaten many of the worlds major commercial vehicle makers to get a mass produced Hydrogen fuel cell truck to market, as  the commercial vehicle industry scrambles to get the zero emission technology on the road.  

The first XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks have been delivered in Switzerland and are part of a total of 50 similar trucks to be shipped there this year for handover to commercial fleet customers starting in September.

The company says it plans to roll out a total of 1,600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks by 2025, underlining the company’s environmental commitment and technological skills as it works toward reducing carbon emissions through zero-emission solutions.

Readers of T&B News will know our extensive reporting of hydrogen fuel cell technology as the power source of the future and this has been reflected in the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Volvo, Iveco and Paccar all embracing the technology for future product with some making major economic commitments to the technology. Hyundai’s commitment is well established and the company has a hydrogen fueling station at its Australian HQ in Sydney. That along with the many startups including Nikola, Rivian, Hyzon and Ballard adds a lot of wait to the argument for hydrogen fuel cells.

, Executive vice president and head of commercial vehicle division for Hyundai Motor, In Cheol Lee said that the delivery makes the XCIENT Fuel Cell a present-day reality, not not a mere future drawing board project.

“By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society,” said In Cheol Lee.

“Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem, where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like XCIENT Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation,” he said.

“Having introduced the world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell electric passenger vehicle, the ix35, and the second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle, the NEXO, Hyundai is now leveraging decades of experience, world-leading fuel-cell technology, and mass-production capability to advance hydrogen in the commercial vehicle sector with the XCIENT Fuel Cell,” he added.

XCIENT is powered by a 190kW hydrogen fuel cell system with dual 95kW fuel cell stacks. Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 32.09kg of hydrogen.

The driving range between refuelling for XCIENT Fuel Cell will be about 400km between hydrogen refuels, which was developed with an optimal balance between the specific requirements from the potential commercial fleet customers and the refuelling infrastructure in Switzerland. Refuelling time for each truck takes approximately 8-20 minutes.

Fuel cell technology is particularly well-suited to commercial shipping and logistics due to long ranges and short refuelling times. The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive the heavy-duty trucks up and down the mountainous terrain in the region.

Hyundai is developing a long-distance prime mover unit capable of traveling 1,000km on a single tank equipped with an enhanced fuel cell system with high durability and power, aimed at global markets including North America and Europe and potentially Australia.

Hyundai Motor Company formed Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) In 2019 in a joint venture with Swiss company H2 Energy, which will lease the trucks to commercial truck operators on a pay-per-use basis, meaning commercial fleet customers will not have to make a large initial capital investment for the trucks and fuelling.

Hyundai chose Switzerland as the starting point for its business venture for a variety of reasons including the Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles, which does not apply for zero-emission trucks. That according to Hyundai almost equalises the hauling costs per kilometre of the fuel cell truck compared to a normal diesel trucks.

 Hyundai’s business case involves using purely clean ‘green’ hydrogen generated from hydro electric power generation. To truly reduce carbon emissions, all of the trucks need to run on only green hydrogen. Switzerland is the country with one of the highest shares of hydropower globally, and is able to sufficient green energy for the production of hydrogen. Once the project is underway in Switzerland, Hyundai plans to expand it to other European countries.

 As Hyundai looks to the future, zero-emissions mobility will play a significant role in the company’s strategy. In addition to the XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, Hyundai is also the manufacturer of NEXO, its second-generation hydrogen-powered SUV. By 2025, the company aims to sell 670,000 electric vehicles annually, including 110,000 FCEVs.

In December 2018, Hyundai announced its long-term roadmap, “Fuel Cell Vision 2030”, and reaffirmed its commitment to accelerate the development of a hydrogen society by leveraging its global leadership in fuel cell technologies.

Hyundai aims to secure a 700,000-unit-a-year capacity of fuel cell systems as part of the plan for automobiles, trucks, ships rail cars, drones and power generators by 2030.

The XCIENTS being delivered in Switzerland are heavy rigids with a 4×2 configuration with a 5310mm wheelbase and an overall length of 9745mm with a GVM of 19 tonnes and a GCM of 36 tonnes (including a trailer towed behind the initial Swiss delivered trucks. The tare weight of the cab chassis truck is 9.7 tonnes.

At this stage Hyundai is not specifying an exact range, but a lot will depend on how much hydrogen can be carried in the tanks, the more hydrogen on board will mean longer range.

The truck uses a 350kW /3400Nm Siemens electric motor powering through an Allison ATM S4500 six speed automatic transmission, with a four-speed retarder and disc service brakes all around.

Inte4restingly the announcement of the delivery of the first hydrogen fuel cell truck delivery was issued in Australia by Hyundai Motor Company Australia, the factory owned distributor of Hyundai passenger cars in Australia not by Hyundai Commercial Vehicles, the privately owned truck distributor, underlining the importance and weight being given to Hydrogen technology