California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has introduced Vision Industries’ Tyrano semi truck – a hydrogen-powered zero emissions vehicle designed to replace diesel and LNG short haul trucks in California. Vision says the Tyrano is the world’s first “green” heavy duty class 8 truck with zero emissions (zero CO2, zero fossil fuels, zero noise pollution and a zero carbon footprint). What’s more, the company claims the Tyrano is twice as powerful as a conventional diesel-powered vehicle.

Currently, there are more than 100,000 short haul trucks in California and more than 1 million nationwide. While short haul vehicles are vital to the economy they add greatly to urban pollution. Traditionally, short haul trucking is done by vehicles on the later part of their life cycle, meaning less efficient and more polluting trucks. It also takes place predominantly in populated urban areas, affecting the health and quality of life of millions of California residents.

"This truck produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and is proof you can protect the environment and the economy at the same time. This is exactly the kind of technology we need to keep California on a path toward a greener future," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Secretary for Environmental Protection Linda Adams added: "This product is the direct result and proof of California's Environmental Policies."

Vision CEO Martin Schuermann said: "these trucks are 30-40 percent cheaper to operate than diesel trucks. We expect a strong market demand once these trucks are in the hands of California truckers."

Vision has been helped by availing itself of a share of Government subsidies of $2 billion to replace 16,800 short haul diesel trucks over the next four years in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The 536HP, 80,000lbs (GVW) vehicle is powered by the Tyrano Hydrogen Drive. Onboard is stored 16.5kg or 33kg of gaseous hydrogen which will give the truck a standard range of 200 miles over an eight-hour shift or, with the larger tank, double the mileage.

The Tyrano is planned to enter production in early 2010.

So where do you fill up? At present there are only 40-odd hydrogen refueling stations in California, but many more are in the planning stages and under construction.

View gallery - 5 images