Hyundai to export heavy-duty hydrogen electric trucks to Germany

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An XCIENT Fuel Cell truck photographed in South Korea on Nov. 10, 2021. A number of firms in the trucking sector are exploring ways to develop vehicles that use hydrogen.
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hyundai Motor Company is to export 27 of its XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks to Germany, with the heavy-duty vehicles set to be used by firms operating in retail, logistics and manufacturing.

In a statement earlier this week, the automotive giant said a total of seven companies — it did not provide their names — would make use of funding from the German government to introduce the vehicles to the country’s roads.

According to Hyundai, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport has a 1.6 billion euro (roughly $1.63 billion) budget for the purchase of “eco-friendly commercial vehicles.” The funding is available until 2024.

The trucks that will be deployed in Germany have a 180-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell system and use seven hydrogen tanks. The extra power comes from three batteries. “The maximum driving range is 400 km (a little under 249 miles) per charge,” Hyundai says.

The hydrogen-electric trucks sent to Germany will bolster the XCIENT Fuel Cell’s presence in Europe. A total of 47 have already been sent to Switzerland, clocking up over 4 million kilometers on the road as of July this year.

In Sept. 2021, the Hyundai Motor Group said it planned to develop hydrogen fuel cell versions of all its commercial vehicle models by the year 2028 and look to introduce a “next generation fuel-cell system” in 2023.

The South Korean business said its goal was to “achieve a fuel cell vehicle price point comparable to a battery electric vehicle by 2030.”

With governments around the world looking to reduce the environmental footprint of transportation, a number of companies in the trucking sector are exploring ways to develop low and zero-emission vehicles, including ones that use hydrogen.

In June, Volvo Trucks said it had begun to test vehicles that use “fuel cells powered by hydrogen,” with the Swedish firm saying their range could extend to as much as 1,000 kilometers, or a little over 621 miles.

Gothenburg-headquartered Volvo Trucks said refueling of the vehicles would take under 15 minutes. Customer pilots are set to begin in the next few years, with commercialization “planned for the latter part of this decade.”

The same month saw U.K.-based startup Tevva launch a hydrogen-electric heavy goods vehicle. According to the firm, its vehicle will have a range of as much as 310 miles, or slightly under 500 kilometers.

Tevva’s first hydrogen-electric truck will weigh 7.5 metric tons, with later versions planned to weigh 12 and 19 metric tons.

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