We’ve been watching battery electric vehicles big and small dominate the headlines in the past decade, but what about hydrogen power as an alternative?

The technology has almost been sneaking along in the background without a lot of fanfare, that might be about to change though.

MAN Truck & Bus has just announced it will put into production a new hydrogen combustion engine.

The German marque say the new engine, called the “H45” (as seen in the image to the left)is based on the existing D38 diesel and will be produced in just a small number at first (200 units).

First deliveries in Europe this year, and selected non-European countries from as early as 2025.

The “MAN hTGX”, as the vehicle will be called, offers an alternative zero-emission drive variant for special applications, for example for transporting heavy goods – such as construction work, tank transport or timber transport.

MAN tell us the hTGX can also be an environmentally friendly alternative to battery-electric trucks for use in areas without sufficient charging infrastructure or for markets where sufficient hydrogen is already available.

“We are continuing to focus on battery-electric vehicles to decarbonize road freight transport.” – Friedrich Baumann, Executive Board Member of MAN Truck & Bus

“These currently have clear advantages over other drive concepts in terms of energy efficiency and operating and energy costs. However, trucks powered by hydrogen combustion engines are a useful addition for special applications and markets.”

One big advantage the hydrogen drive powertrain has over battery electric configurations is that you don’t lose vital space to bulky battery packs.

With a 600-kilometre range and up to 520hp outputs, it all looks pretty positive.