Hiringa Energy to deploy HYZON Motors fuel cell-powered heavy trucks in New Zealand next year

7 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 3, 2020

New Zealand‘s Hiringa Energy and US-based HYZON Motors Inc. have signed a heads of agreement that secures access for Hiringa and its fleet partners to the supply of zero-emission heavy goods vehicles powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell technology. 

The heavy fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) will be tailored to meet the demanding and unique requirements of the New Zealand heavy freight and road transport sector and it is expected that the vehicles will enter service in New Zealand from the start of 2021, with 20 trucks deployed in an initial validation phase with the country‘s heavy trucking fleets.

This agreement supports Hiringa and its partners‘ strategy to roll out more than 1500 FCEVs by 2026 (from 2022), driving the cost of the technology down and unlocking widespread adoption of zero-emission heavy transport.

The trucks will come in a variety of right-hand drive configurations with a GCM of over 50t and suitable for New Zealand operators, including 8×4 and 6×4 rigid and prime movers with driving distances of up to 500km. 

The FCEVs combine hydrogen (stored on board the vehicle) and oxygen (from the air) to make electricity to power the vehicle. The only tailpipe emission is water vapour. FCEV trucks have the benefit of being an electric vehicle, but with a similar weight and power output to regular diesel-powered trucks, and have a similar refuelling time of about 15 to 20 minutes. 

“This is an exciting milestone for Hiringa Energy and our partners,” said Hiringa chief technology officer Dan Kahn. “It comes on the back of over three years‘ detailed planning and analysis working together with heavy fleet operators, government and leading technology vendors such as HYZON Motors.

“The FCEV truck market is growing rapidly, with enormous demand coming out of the US and Europe. So, for New Zealand to be able to secure this agreement with HYZON demonstrates New Zealand‘s leadership in how we are approaching the hydrogen FCEV opportunity. 

“We look forward to getting these trucks on our roads early next year and putting them through their paces prior to widespread rollout for the New Zealand trucking industry in 2022. These exciting trucks are a flavour of what‘s to come with the growing applications for FCEV commercial and heavy vehicles in New Zealand.”

HYZON is a leading fuel cell heavy vehicle manufacturer headquartered in New York, USA. The company is led by experienced fuel cell veterans from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies and General Motors.

“HYZON is delighted to work with Hiringa in accelerating the decarbonisation of commercial transport in New Zealand, which is highly fitting for a country known for its pristine environment,” said Craig Knight, co-founder of HYZON Motors. 

“The Hiringa hydrogen infrastructure deployment will position New Zealand to become a global leader in the adoption of zero emission heavy vehicle technology, and we are pleased to be playing a major part in this transition.

“This heads of agreement with Hiringa closely follows the signing of an agreement for HYZON to supply hydrogen fuel cell-powered coaches to Western Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group‘s Christmas Creek operations. We are excited to be rapidly growing our presence in Australia and New Zealand and look forward to playing our part in the global decarbonisation story.”

Hiringa CEO Andrew Clennett said the agreement comes as welcome news for many New Zealand heavy vehicle fleet operators who have been actively looking for a zero-emission solution in order to meet their carbon reduction targets.

“This agreement helps bring a major piece of the puzzle together for zero-emission supply chains, delivering an exciting solution for the high utilisation heavy trucking sector, and complements the partnerships we have been growing with trucking industry leaders such as TIL Group and TR Group. We are looking forward to working with these partners, their customers, and other key players in the heavy transport industry on this rollout. 

“New Zealand is set to be one of the first countries in the world to be able to offer a zero-emission national supply chain. With HYZON we have vehicles bringing new technology and a focus on absolute maximisation of efficiency and reduction of operational cost. To be developing this fully integrated solution in New Zealand is an excellent example of the joint leadership being shown by the transport and hydrogen industries in this country.” 

The trucks will be fuelled by Hiringa‘s nationwide hydrogen refuelling network located on key partner sites such as Waitomo Group‘s existing fuel stops. 

The network will commence refuelling operations in 2021, expanding to eight stations across the North and South Islands by 2022 as part of a phase 1 network infrastructure plan, servicing 100% of the North Island and 82% of the South Island heavy freight routes. 

The phase 2 expansion will increase the network to at least 24 stations by 2025, providing coverage for 95% of all heavy vehicle routes throughout New Zealand. 

This news builds upon the continued momentum with the New Zealand government‘s recent provisional support of $20 million towards the establishment of Hiringa‘s nationwide refuelling network. This support demonstrates the advanced stage of development of the company‘s plans and the government‘s commitment to zero emissions transport.