South Korean automaker Hyundai on Wednesday presented the first seven hydrogen-powered trucks to consumers in Switzerland, out of 50 such vehicles planned this year to bring zero-emission commercial automobiles to European roads.
For the long haul, supporters say hydrogen-powered trucks have an advantage over electric competitors as they have a greater range and need less charging times but their uptake and mass production has been slow as they are costly.
However, a McKinsey study in January noted that once relative efficiencies of the power sources and lifetime expenses of a truck are factored in, green hydrogen could reach cost parity with diesel by 2030.
Hyundai has been collaborating with Swiss companies for building a value chain covering the production of green hydrogen from hydropower, stations for hydrogen charging, and the service and maintenance of the trucks.
The customers, which consist of supermarket chain Migros, will be leasing the trucks from Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) for transporting goods around the nation, backed by the new hydrogen infrastructure.
Leases are on a pay-per-use basis that does not need an initial investment. Hyundai prepares to put 1,600 trucks on Swiss roads by 2025.
Its H2 Xcient trucks have a 190-kilowatt fuel cell stack and seven high-pressure tanks holding 32 kgs of hydrogen, providing them a range far further than comparable automobiles powered by electric batteries on the market now.
HHM was set up by Hyundai and Swiss startup H2 energy in 2019 to partner with Hydrospider, a joint venture of H2 Energy, industrial gas maker Linde and Swiss power utility Alpiq.
Hyundai prepares for a production capacity of 2,000 units of Xcient fuel cells per year by 2021 to support its expansion strategies as the demand for clean transport increases.
It sees Switzerland as a test case for hydrogen fuel cells in heavy goods transport, said In Cheol Lee, executive vice president and head of the commercial vehicle division at Hyundai.
“With successful delivery of the first H2 Xcient fuel cell trucks, we proudly announce our plan to expand beyond Europe to North America and China, where we are already making great progress,” Lee said.
For Europe, Hyundai has said it will next target Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway.