Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell hitting the road in California

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 30, 2021

Hyundai Motor Company will deploy its latest hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks in California for two publicly funded projects to improve the air quality in the region.

The demo trucks that Hyundai will bring into the United States are developed based on XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass-produced, heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen.

Debuting last year in Switzerland, XCIENT Fuel Cell has been tested with more than one million kilometres of driving in real-world conditions. The U.S. model provides a maximum driving range of 800km.

Hyundai will leverage insights gained from the public projects to develop its zero-emission commercial fleet business in the U.S. and establish local partnerships across the value chain.

Hyundai teamed with public and private partners in the U.S. to operate 30 units of Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, starting from the second quarter of 2023. It will be the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the U.S.

A consortium led by the Centre for Transportation and the Environment and Hyundai Motor recently won $22 million in grants from the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission, and $7 million in additional grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, in support of the project.

“We are proud to fund this hallmark deployment of 30 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and improve the air quality in Northern California,” said Hannon Rasool, deputy director of fuels and transportation division at the California Energy Commission.

“These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem,” he said.

“Public and private project partners have come together to take a big step forward in decarbonising freight and goods movement, as part of CARB and CEC’s clean air initiatives.”

The consortium plans to establish a high-capacity hydrogen refuelling station in Oakland, California that will be able to support as many as 50 trucks with an average fill of 30kg.

Hyundai New Zealand is expecting to receive its first XCIENT Fuel Cell in Q4. It will then undergo local modifications to suit New Zealand requirements before entering a trial programme in 2022. A further four units have been ordered and are expected in 2022 to enter real-world daily logistics operations.