NZ’s first hydrogen truck unveiled

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 1, 2021

Transport minister Michael Wood has unveiled Hyundai’s Xcient FCEV, New Zealand’s first hydrogen-electric truck.

The truck is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It runs off hydrogen, which it converts to electricity to power the electric motor. With only water coming from the exhaust, the truck is completely emissions free. Five Xcient FCEVs will take part in the New Zealand trial, with the first in service from April 2022 once it has been converted to local specification. New Zealand is the third country in the world to operate the Xcient FCEV.

The Xcient FCEV features 7 hydrogen tanks that fuel a 180kW fuel cell stack. This produces the power for the 72kWh battery pack, which powers the 350kW/2237Nm electric traction motor and six-speed Allison transmission.

Grant Doull, manager hydrogen and eco commercial vehicles, Hyundai New Zealand, says this set-up provides performance roughly equivalent to a 470hp diesel-powered truck.

“We believe both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and FCEVs have their place. But when it gets to commercial vehicles BEVs cannot do it. Hydrogen is really the only option for heavy transport, with very fast refuelling, good range, and comparatively light weight meaning there’s space for more payload,” Doull said.

The Xcient FCEV 6×2 weighs in at a GVM of 28,000kg and a GCM of 42,000kg. The range is 400km with refuelling taking between 8 and 20 minutes.

Andy Sinclair, CEO of Hyundai Motors New Zealand, said Hyundai has a global vision for 2040 that centres heavily on its global hydrogen journey, which it has been investing in and developing since 1998.

“The company has become a leader in fuel cell electric vehicle development,” he said, adding more than US$9.8 billion has been invested so far. “Hyundai plans to be the first global manufacturer to apply fuel cell technology across all its commercial vehicles, by 2028.”

At the Auckland unveiling, minister Wood spoke about the important role of hydrogen in decarbonising New Zealand’s transport sector.

He then had a hands-on tour of the inner workings of the truck and started up the truck himself. He then went for a drive to experience the zero-emission diesel truck alternative.

A report on the Xcient FCEV will follow in a forthcoming issue of New Zealand Trucking magazine.