Only this big rig has a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain.
The need for fuel-efficient vehicles goes beyond private transportation. What about all of those big rig semi-trucks we see cruising along the highways going from coast to coast? Shouldn't they become efficient as well? Of course, and Hyundai is the latest automaker to join this potentially highly profitable segment.
Introducing the Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world's first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck. It's powered by a 190-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with dual 95-kW fuel cell stacks. Seven big hydrogen tanks offer total storage of about 71 pounds of hydrogen. Each truck can travel up to about 250 miles (400 kilometers) on a single charge and refueling only takes 8 to 20 minutes.
The first 10 examples have now been shipped to Switzerland just prior to commercial fleet sales getting underway in September. A total of 50 trucks will be shipped to Switzerland this year alone and by 2025 the automaker hopes to have 1,600 on the road in that country and elsewhere.
Hyundai points out that fuel cell technology is ideal for commercial shipping purposes because of its long-range and short refueling time capabilities. For the US, the company is also working on a long-distance tractor unit that can go up to 620 miles (1,000 km) on a single charge. The also upcoming Tesla Semi truck, for comparison's sake, boasts a range of 300 or 500 miles, depending on the battery pack. At the moment, the Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell is the only vehicle in the regular lineup with this powertrain technology, though the automaker has gone on record stating it aims to become "the world's first mass-producer of fuel cell vehicles."
But why did Hyundai bring the XCIENT truck to Switzerland first, of all places? Because the country's road tax on commercial vehicles does not apply for zero-emission trucks. Another reason is due to Switzerland having one of the highest shares of hydropower in the world.
"XCIENT Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project. By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society," said In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice President at Hyundai Motor. "Having introduced the world's first mass-produced fuel-cell electric passenger vehicle, the ix35, and the second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle, the Nexo, Hyundai is now leveraging decades of experience, world-leading fuel-cell technology, and mass-production capability to advance hydrogen in the commercial vehicle sector with the XCIENT Fuel Cell."
Once everything is up and running properly in Switzerland, the Hyundai XCIENT will be launched in other European countries.