Hyundai to put 1,600 hydrogen trucks on the road over the next 5 years

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Hyundai has confirmed it will put 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks on the road in Switzerland in the next five years, and plans to sell them in various other European countries too.

The 4×2 and 6×2 H2 XCIENT rigid trucks, the first 50 of which will hit Swiss roads in 2020, will be supplied though Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HMM), a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and H2 Energy. They will be powered by 100% green hydrogen produced by Hydrospider, a collaboration between Alpiq, H2 Energy and Linde.

The business model will see Swiss hauliers taking the trucks on eight-year contracts, paying on a per-km basis.

Mark Freymuller, president of commercial vehicle eco-friendly business development at Hyundai Motor, said the fee includes the truck, maintenance, battery replacement and hydrogen supply. He added that HMM will establish a fuelling infrastructure using existing fuel stations to keep costs down, so “solving the age-old chicken and egg problem”.

Hyundai H2 XCIENT 4×2 – technical specifications

While HMM will attempt to make the trucks as cost-effective as possible, chairman of H2 Energy Rolf Huber acknowledged that in most cases, the trucks will have a slightly higher TCO than equivalent diesel units. “If you’re looking for the cheapest truck, this probably isn’t it,” he admitted, though he stressed that the more miles a customer covers, the smaller the gap in cost will be.

According to Freymuller, the first batch of 50 trucks all have hauliers waiting, and he sees no issue with finding customers for the other 1,550 due by 2025. The company is talking to potential customers in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and France, and expects to expand out of Switzerland in 2020, he added.

Huber said the countries with financial incentives for operating clean trucks are the key target.

One problem the company faces is setting up an aftersales network. It has already ruled out piggybacking on the car network and is looking for European partners.

Edward Lee, executive vice-president of Hyundai Motor Co’s CV business division, said: “We believe this is the fuel for the next 100 years, and Hyundai will be the biggest player. This is the core business for our company.”

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