Automotive

Hyundai's first 10 Xcient Fuel Cell trucks are headed for Switzerland

Hyundai's first 10 Xcient Fuel...
The first 10 hydrogen powered Xcient Fuel Cell trucks board a ship in Korea headed for Switzerland
The first 10 hydrogen powered Xcient Fuel Cell trucks board a ship in Korea headed for Switzerland
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A low-resolution look at the Xcient's fuel cell powertrain
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A low-resolution look at the Xcient's fuel cell powertrain
Hyundai's plans for a fuel-cell-powered European trucking system
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Hyundai's plans for a fuel-cell-powered European trucking system
The Xcient can travel around 400 km on a tank of hydrogen
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The Xcient can travel around 400 km on a tank of hydrogen
The Xcient Fuel Cell truck
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The Xcient Fuel Cell truck
The first 10 hydrogen powered Xcient Fuel Cell trucks board a ship in Korea headed for Switzerland
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The first 10 hydrogen powered Xcient Fuel Cell trucks board a ship in Korea headed for Switzerland
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The first 10 units of Hyundai's hydrogen-powered Xcient Fuel Cell – the world's first heavy duty fuel-cell-powered truck – have rolled off the production line and are on their way to Switzerland, with 40 more to follow later this year.

With a 190-kilowatt (255-hp) fuel cell converting hydrogen into electricity, these things can do around 400 km (250 mi) on a tank, emitting nothing but water. There aren't many hydrogen filling stations in Switzerland at the moment – the H2 Mobility Switzerland industry association is hoping for six by the end of the year – but hydrogen production facilities can easily be set up at depots, and a 400-km range will get you more or less anywhere in Switzerland and back again.

"Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like XCIENT Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation," says Hyundai Executive VP and head of Commercial Vehicles Cheol Lee.

The Xcient can travel around 400 km on a tank of hydrogen
The Xcient can travel around 400 km on a tank of hydrogen

We remain unconvinced by the potential of hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger cars, but there do seem to be areas where hydrogen's unique properties might allow it to take hold as the world moves away from fossil fuels. Aviation and shipping, for example, seem like strong potential markets thanks to hydrogen's excellent energy density, which allows far longer-range vehicles than lithium batteries.

Trucking could end up being another killer app. Companies like Tesla are pushing hard for battery-electric trucks, and the Tesla Semi has twice the range of the Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell. But it'll take a lot longer to charge that huge Tesla battery than it will to pump a tank full of hydrogen into the Hyundai, and that could factor into the equation in a 24-hour operation cycle. Hyundai hopes to have 1,600 of its fuel cell trucks on the road by 2025.

Source: Hyundai

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5 comments
martinwinlow
Uh-huh! And just what does one of these babies cost compared to a Tesla Semi (make an educated guess) let alone a comparable diesel powered vehicle?

And where does the hydrogen come from (98% currently comes from steam-reformed natural gas - a process which uses vast amounts of energy and produces equally vast amounts of CO2 (arguably and depending on which system is used).

So what (ON EARTH) is the point? *Especially* in a small country like Switzerland, where a battery-electric vehicle would make 10 times more sense and is probably half the cost - without the potentially catastrophic danger of hauling around a tank full of one of nature's most reactive elements?

The whole idea of making H2 for such purposes is so complex and so expensive (compared to just sticking completely ubiquitous electricity into an off-the-shelf battery and using to power an equally ubiquitous electric motor) that you have to wonder what planet proponents of 'the hydrogen economy' are on!
michael_dowling
FCVs are tailor made for trucking,buses,cargo ships and aircraft,where refueling can be done at depots and airports. For passenger cars,FCVs have no chance of beating batteries.
FB36
IMHO, using hydrogen as fuel for any kind of land/air/sea vehicle is extremely dangerous idea! Because, sooner or later, there would be many accidents/collisions & leakages & ruptures! & guess what? Hydrogen fuel does NOT start a fire like gasoline; it explodes like a bomb!

For any vehicles, which batteries are not enough for, it would be best to use a biofuel, like biodiesel or methanol!
(Biodiesel is actually better than methanol, because it would not easily could start any fires, it there is rupture/leakage; unlike methanol!)
Lukemaj
So much bias, if you go to source you will find that first of all Hyundai is planning to use only "green" hydrogen using energy from hydro-power (where is electricity for most electric cars etc from network cumming from sources including those emitting CO2). Second of all it is testing model for those tracks and business idea with cars been offered as hire not for sale, though price is not mention it is hard to compere with Tesla Semi, as first is not offered for sale other...yet not available on market beyond pre-orders and some constantly delay production date. Most interesting is people fear about hydrogen where much of research goes to design safe tanks that can manage crush, and then unless hydrogen is trapped it disperse so fast in the air that risk of explosion is not as high as some picture it...best example would be to put instance where one of hydrogen cars (there is few of them) potentially involved in accident exploded- I might be forgetful- but I cannot remember any such, on the other hand there where some with Teslas, which cost peoples life (many road accidents does) but as well been a problem for firefighters to approach (which hydrogen will be as well...). My general point is all options have it pros and cons (ICE- huge CO2 emission and negative impact on environment, Batteries- sourcing materials and energy production, infrastructure overload so on, Hydrogen- problem with long time storing, potential to explode), but without investigating all options we cannot be able to choose best option, so initiatives like that should be watched with interest.
ljaques
H2 makes sense for some small niches, but not for large scale ops like long-range trucking or all our passenger vehicles. I wouldn't mind having a fuel cell power generator on-site, and it makes sense for long-range drones, but that's about it. Wait, Loz, have you seen any fuel-celled motorcycles yet? Test one for us, yeah?