Hybrid electric trucks that run on hydrogen will be available early next year. The company has a contract with the Korean industrial giant Posco Chemical to build a gigafactory in north-eastern England where the hydrogen-powered cells can be produced. These cells contain lithium, magnesium, and other critical minerals needed for car batteries. As they are made, hydrogen-powered electric trucks should have a range of up to 160 miles.
The fuel cell stack contains individual membrane electrodes that generate electricity by reacting with the ambient air. The hydrogen fuel cell then stores the generated electricity and is rechargeable like a gasoline tank. However, hydrogen fuel cell technology is still in the early development stages. While there are many advantages to hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, some hurdles are still present. One of the greatest challenges is securing an abundant supply of clean, green hydrogen. Another problem is the lack of a proper refueling infrastructure for heavy vehicles.
A new hydrogen-powered truck can cost $140,000 or more. However, truck owners don’t want to be recharging drivers all the time. Hydrogen-powered electric trucks have a longer range and a higher load than their battery-powered counterparts. As batteries are becoming more efficient, the cost of hydrogen could fall to as little as five to 15 cents per mile in five years. This would make it more affordable than diesel trucks, especially in the long run.
In the meantime, battery technology will improve and hydrogen fuel cells will replace batteries in trucks. Battery technology has a lower cost per pound, and hydrogen fuel cells can be recharged in as little as one hour. Until then, it’s too early to tell when hydrogen-powered trucks will be mass-produced, but the company plans to make them at some point in the future. While many people are concerned about the costs, Traton and its partners believe that hydrogen fuel cells will become the preferred powertrain for trucks by the mid-2020s.
Fuel cell electric trucks will have an operational range comparable to diesel trucks. The range of hydrogen-powered trucks will be approximately 1,000km, and refuelling will take less than fifteen minutes. Volvo Trucks expects to have a hydrogen-powered electric truck on the market in the late 2020s. The hydrogen-powered trucks will weigh up to 65 tonnes and have a range comparable to diesel trucks. In addition, they will have an impressively low refuelling time of under 15 minutes.
Hyzon Motors, a manufacturer of zero-emission hydrogen-powered electric trucks, has signed a three-year supply deal with Geesinknorba Group, a leading waste collection company in Europe. The deal will include the supply of 300 zero-emission trucks, which will be deployed by Geesinknorba to the government of Barcelona. The trucks will be produced at Geesinknorba’s plant in Emmeloord and Hyzon’s factory in Groningen, Netherlands.
The hydrogen fuel cell technology is the answer to the climate challenge in the trucking industry. Hydrogen fuel cells require additional components onboard and new infrastructure to be built, but they have a significantly greater range than BEVs and fill up in the same time as a gas-powered truck. The hydrogen fuel cell is the best option for trucks and will likely replace the diesel rigs in the near future. But hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks will have to compete with battery electric trucks for the next decade or so.