NZ’s first hydrogen-powered truck on its way

In News, Hyundai3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 12, 2021

The first of Hyundai New Zealand’s five new hydrogen fuel cell electric Xcient trucks is set to arrive in New Zealand on 18 November.

The arrival of the truck signifies the progression and application of hydrogen technology in New Zealand.

The electric motor is run by two 90kW fuel cells supported by a small battery pack (72kWh), which is continuously charged through the splitting of hydrogen. This results in a clean and quiet motor where the only emission is water.

The first of these trucks will be on the road in the second quarter of next year, in a live field demonstration transporting large volumes of goods commercially across New Zealand.

“As a Kiwi owned company, we are big believers of implementing alternative fuel technology here in New Zealand,” said Hyundai New Zealand general manager Andy Sinclair.

“We have championed this through the introduction of NZ’s first hydrogen-powered SUV, Nexo, in 2019. Now with the XcientFCEV, we have an opportunity to help fast track the large-scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the New Zealand road freight sector,” he said.

“We’re fortunate as a local distributor to have a strong working relationship with Hyundai Motor Company, who acknowledge and support our hydrogen ambitions. Hyundai Motor Company anticipated the future potential of hydrogen fuel cells at an early stage, and we have been able to benefit from that.”

New Zealand is just the third country to have access to these trucks, following Switzerland and Korea.

Hyundai New Zealand has initially opted for Swiss specification to get the programme underway early. The trucks will be converted locally to New Zealand configuration and a body affixed in preparation to hit Kiwi roads.

The Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-produced heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen. There are already a number of FCEV Xcients in real-world operations that have now collectively exceeded two-million kilometres of driving.

Hyundai New Zealand said it will work with local partners in the freight sector to determine where the trucks will operate regionally.

The demonstration is expected to give insights into how the trucks fit into timetables, capacity, maintenance schedules, refuelling, drivability and user-training specific to New Zealand.