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Testing of hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks begins

  • marimac 

Volvo Trucks has started to test vehicles using hydrogen technology. To decarbonise transport, Volvo Trucks already offers battery-electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, such as biogas. In the second half of this decade, a third CO2-neutral option will be added; fuel cell electric trucks powered by hydrogen.

Re-fuelling can be done in a span of under 15 minutes. Image credit: Volvo
Re-fuelling can be done in a span of under 15 minutes. Image credit: Volvo

“We have been developing this technology for some years now, and it feels great to see the first trucks successfully running on the test track. The combination of battery-electric and fuel cell electric will enable our customers to completely eliminate CO2 exhaust emissions from their trucks, no matter their transport assignments,” says Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks.

The fuel cell electric trucks will have an operational range comparable to many diesel trucks – up to 1000 kilometres – and a refuelling time of under 15 minutes. The total weight can be around 65 tons or more, and the two fuel cells have the capacity to generate 300 kW of electricity onboard.

Pilots will start and commercialisation is planned for the latter part of this decade.

“Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks will be especially suitable for long distances and heavy, energy-demanding assignments. They could also be an option in countries where battery charging possibilities are limited,” says Alm.

A fuel cell generates its own electricity from the hydrogen onboard instead of being charged from an external source. The only by-product emitted is water vapour.

The fuel cells will be supplied by cellcentric – the joint venture between the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG.

Fuel cell technology is still in an early phase of development and there are many benefits with the new technology, but also some challenges. One of them is a large-scale supply of green hydrogen. Another is the fact that refuelling infrastructure for heavy vehicles is yet to be developed.

“We expect the supply of green hydrogen to increase significantly during the next couple of years since many industries will depend on it to reduce CO2. However, we cannot wait to decarbonize transport, we are already running late. So, my clear message to all transport companies is to start the journey today with battery-electric, biogas, and the other options available. The fuel cell trucks will then be an important complement for longer and heavier transports in a few years from now”, says Roger Alm.