Hyundai Doubles Down On Hydrogen Power With New US-Bound Trucks

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It seems hydrogen is perfect for commercial vehicle application.

Hyundai recently reinforced its commitment to hydrogen technology by stating that its XCIENT Fuel Cell truck fleet would expand in 2023.

The announcement was made at the 2022 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. Hyundai is set to share the progress of its NorCAL ZERO Project at the expo. This project will see Hyundai deploy 30 Class 8 6x4 XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty tractors at the Port of Oakland (California) in 2023.

As part of the expo, Hyundai will participate in various panel discussions under the theme, "Coming Around the Corner, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles."

These panels will discuss the challenges and prospects facing the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, of which there are many. Hyundai is one of only two manufacturers to offer an EV fuel cell vehicle for sale in the US. Those vehicles are the Hyundai Nexo crossover and Toyota Mirai sedan, yet both cars have the same catastrophic flaw: a lack of refueling infrastructure.

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"Our ultimate goal is to fight climate change and build a sustainable future. We are running out of time to limit global warming," said Mark Freymueller, senior vice president and head of commercial vehicle business innovation at Hyundai Motor Company. "We believe that there is no way around hydrogen to realize the energy transition towards renewables. And amongst others, it [already offers] a practical and viable solution to decarbonize the heavy-duty commercial vehicle sector providing excellent drive range, payloads, and refueling time on our trucks."

Hyundai sees hydrogen as the leading clean energy solution for commercial vehicles due to the convenience in production, transportation, distribution, and storage. Hydrogen has a high energy density, making it perfect for long-haul driving and carrying large loads.

For example, refueling with hydrogen is faster than charging a BEV semi-truck. You're looking at a downtime of ten minutes compared to two hours of charging.

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Thanks to US government investment, more players will be entering the hydrogen space. Hyundai reckons this will reduce the pricing of hydrogen vehicles. Hyundai already bet $1.1 billion on hydrogen and is even working on a hydrogen racer to make fuel cells sexier.

"Hyundai Motor is a leader in the hydrogen fuel cell market with decades of experience and proven expertise. Our proven record of success with commercial fuel cell programs in Korea and Europe has been critical to our launch of heavy-duty fuel cell trucks in North America," said José Muñoz, president & COO of Hyundai Motor Company. "Deploying XCIENT Fuel Cell tractors at the Port of Oakland for the NorCAL ZERO Project is just the beginning of our goals as we work with partners to fight climate change and build a more sustainable future."

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