Since day dot we’ve been talking diesel propulsion for heavy commercial vehicles, but even though diesel engines are getting ever more efficient, other means of propulsion are only going to continue to impact our industry.

We’ve seen a rise in recent years in electrically-propelled delivery trucks, vans and city buses, but there are still some limitations for battery electric EVs when talking (or hauling) bigger loads and travelling longer distances.

That’s where Hydrogen fuel cell technology could just step into the mix in a big way. How big? Well, one proponent of the technology reckons about 40 per cent of the global commercial vehicle fleet will be powered by Hydrogen at the end of this decade.

Jean-Michel Billig is the head of the hydrogen program at European auto manufacturer, Stellantis.

Already offering fuel cell powertrains for its medium-sized and large vans, Stellantis (which is self-described as a “constellation of 14 iconic automotive brands”) wants to significantly expand its production capacities for fuel cell vehicles to produce 100,000 such vehicles per year by 2030.

These will primarily be light commercial vehicles.

Bellig told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that when it comes to Hydrogen fuel cell tech the sky is the limit.

“This year, we are starting production of larger vehicles in Poland, and development in North America will follow quickly – especially for the fuel cell version of the large Ram 5500,”

“The new version of the Ram 5500 pickup truck will be manufactured in Mexico. The Ram 5500 is an over seven-metre-long version of the well-known pickup model, equipped with dual tyres on the rear axle to increase the payload.

“In the coming decade, we expect a significant market share for this technology.”

And why not? The medium-sized vans in the Stellantis range (based on models like the Fiat Professional) deliver about 400km of range, and large vans promise a range of up to 500km.

There does seem to be some momentum for hydrogen in Europe in particular – just last month MAN announced it was putting into a production a hydrogen version of it’s D38 diesel engine.