Hyundai's new hydrogen fuel-cell truck will arrive in America before the Tesla Semi.
Hyundai has begun expanding its electric car lineup with the launch of the new Ioniq 5, which is being sold under the Ioniq dedicated EV sub-band. But while most automakers are focusing on EVs, Hyundai is also leading the fuel-cell vehicle charge. In fact, along with Toyota, Hyundai is one of the only mainstream car manufacturers that sells hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles. The Nexo is the only hydrogen-powered car in Hyundai's current model lineup, but the carmaker also sells commercial fuel-cell trucks like the Xcient Fuel Cell, billed as the "world's first mass-produced, heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen".
But while the electric Tesla Semi has been delayed and Mercedes is still testing its own fuel-cell trucks, Hyundai has updated the Xcient Fuel Cell for 2021 with bolder styling and improved performance.
For 2021, the grille has been redesigned with new chrome details, multi-dimensional mesh patterns, and blue accents, giving the truck a bolder presence. Powering the 2021 Xcient Fuel Cell is an electric motor with 469 horsepower and 1,724 lb-ft of torque. It's also equipped with a more durable and more fuel-efficient 180-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 90-kW fuel cell stacks.
Seven large hydrogen tanks provide a combined storage capacity of around 68 pounds of fuel, while a 72-kWh-powered set of three batteries provides an additional source of power. With this setup, the 2021 Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell is set to have a range of around 250 miles. Refueling a full tank of hydrogen takes around eight to 20 minutes.
For 2021, the Xcient Fuel Cell is now available in a 6x2 rigid body configuration as well as the 4x2 option that was available for 2020.
Since it launched, Hyundai has shipped 45 Xcient Fuel Cell trucks to Switzerland, which have achieved a cumulative driving range of over 466,000 miles and reduced carbon emissions by around 585 tons. By the end of the year, Hyundai will ship another 140 units to Switzerland. The aim is to ship 1,600 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks in Europe by 2025.
"The customers are very pleased with the quality and driving comfort of the truck. There is a lot of interest for the truck outside Switzerland as well. We are very confident that we will see Xcient Fuel Cell trucks on the road in other European countries next year," said Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility.
Hyundai is also in talks with local governments and logistics businesses to launch the Xcient Fuel Cell in North America this year. This means it will arrive one year before the Tesla Semi Truck.