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Hyundai ups its hydrogen game with the introduction of new trucks in Europe.

Berita 24 English -  Hyundai Motor of South Korea plans to ship a new series of hydrogen-powered heavy goods trucks to Europe later this yea...

Berita 24 English - 
Hyundai Motor of South Korea plans to ship a new series of hydrogen-powered heavy goods trucks to Europe later this year, ratcheting up the pressure on rivals in a race to prove the viability of hydrogen-powered heavy goods transport.

A new generation of the Scient Hyundai truck is scheduled to arrive in Europe in the fourth quarter, according to Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM).

While hydrogen lags behind electric batteries in terms of green transport costs, proponents argue that hydrogen-powered trucks have an advantage for long-haul transport due to their increased range.

Since October, HHM, a joint venture between Hyundai and Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy, has been renting "green" hydrogen trucks to commercial clients in Switzerland in the world's most advanced pilot program.

HHM intends to expand its operations into additional European countries next year. "Germany and the Netherlands are the most likely candidates," Freymueller told Reuters, adding that pilots from Austria, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, and Denmark were also being considered.

Hyundai's latest push will increase the pressure on domestic players who are working on their own hydrogen plans.

Among them are Germany's Daimler and Sweden's Volvo, and Italy's Iveco, a subsidiary of Italian-American vehicle manufacturer CNH Industrial that collaborates with zero-emission truckmaker Nikola.

Hydrogen has risen to prominence in Europe, where EU environment ministers have pledged to cut truck CO2 emissions by a third by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, threatening diesel bans and increased taxes but promising up to 75% lower road tolls for greener vehicles.

While more expensive than battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles powered by onboard hydrogen may benefit from Europe's desire to develop a world-leading hydrogen industry.

According to a study conducted by the consultancy Berylls Strategy Advisors, by 2030, 25% of new truck sales in Europe will be battery-powered, while 10% will be fuel cell-powered. However, the ratio may change if green hydrogen production is scaled up, the report stated.


Hyundai selected Switzerland as the pilot country due to its benign regulatory environment, environmentally conscious customers, and reliable hydropower, accounting for 58% of the country's energy mix. Local road taxes are waived for zero-carbon vehicles, while those powered by fossil fuels pay around 800 euros ($977) per tonne of CO2 emitted.

"Anyone interested in seeing how fuel cell technology works on the road should travel to Switzerland," said Steffen Stumpp, Berylls' head of the commercial vehicle business unit.

Customer feedback on Hyundai's pay-per-use pilot appears to be favourable. According to a spokeswoman for grocery chain Coop, drivers appreciate the similar payload to diesel trucks and that refuelling takes only a few minutes.

"There was no need to alter my driving style," Nadine Sigrist, a driver for Migros in the Zurich region, explained. "What was novel for me was the massive acceleration and the quiet engine."

With the arrival of additional Hyundai trucks, Swiss power utility Alpiq plans to expand its electrolysis capacity at Niedergoesgen. It produces green hydrogen that is then transported as gas to filling stations via trucks.

"We will grow from 2 megawatts to double-digits or 5-10 megawatts," said Amedee Murisier, Alpiq's head of hydropower generation and a board member of Hydrospider, a Swiss green hydrogen joint venture between Alpiq, Linde gases, and H2 Energy.

Hydrospider could achieve breakeven as early as 2022, according to Murisier.


McKinsey estimates that hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles will reach parity with diesel only in 2028 at the earliest, but automakers are moving forward with plans, albeit at varying speeds.

Nikola and Iveco have stated that they will produce a fuel cell electric vehicle by 2023, two years ahead of Volvo and Daimler Truck, which are muscling in but will not have test trucks available for three half years.

Separately, Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of the Daimler group, will conduct customer trials for its GenH2 Truck in 2023.

"Nikola is significantly ahead of Daimler/Volvo in terms of timeline," Stumpp stated. "If Hyundai offers the Xcient in additional European markets, it will be neck and neck with Nikola/Iveco."

Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum stated that a hydrogen fueling network needed to be established first before fuel cell trucks could find buyers, which would take years, and thus they were timing their moves to coincide with the infrastructure.

DAF, a subsidiary of Paccar, is also in the game. Still, its focus is on battery electric vehicles, an area in which Nikola is also active and plans to enter the market in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Other companies have chosen to prioritize other technologies over fuel cells.

Triton, Volkswagen's truck division, recently stated that its MAN and Scania divisions had chosen only the battery route.

"Hydrogen trucks suffer from a significant disadvantage. Only about a quarter of the original energy is used for propulsion; the remaining three-quarters are lost in conversion "Matthias Gruendler, CEO of Traton, and Andreas Kammel, a specialist in alternative drivetrains, wrote a column for the Handelsblatt newspaper.

"With electric trucks, the ratio is reversed," they explained.

Traton has left the door open by increasing its investment in Navistar, a truck manufacturer focused on fuel cell development in the Americas.


Companies are hedging their bets in the automotive supply chain.

Bosch, a proponent of hydrogen fuel cells, has formed a joint venture with China's Qingling Motors to supply hydrogen fuel cell systems in 2022/2023.

Elringklinger and Mahle are also involved in the development of fuel cell technology.

Cummins Engine Company of the United States, which is scheduled to begin construction of a fuel cell system factory in Herten, Germany, later this year, sees no conflict.

"Fuel cells will complement the BEV (battery electric vehicle) system in locations where energy storage, range, weight, and power requirements cannot be met solely by batteries," Amy Davis, president of Cummins' New Power division, said.

"That is why we are investing in electric vehicle drivetrain components, which we believe will mature as well and will be critical for both fuel cells and batteries."

(1 dollar equals 0.8188 euros)

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