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Autonomous long-haul hydrogen fuel cell trucks by Hydron

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Mo Chen, the co-founder of TuSimple, a San Diego-based autonomous driving business, has announced the launch of Hydron, a new firm that will bring to market Class 8 hydrogen-powered vehicles with Level 4 autonomous driving technology.

Chen is the company’s CEO, and Hydron is a privately held company that is unrelated to TuSimple.

Chen told Transport Topics, “Hydron is an original equipment manufacturer that will design, manufacture, and distribute a portfolio of autonomous-ready vehicles fueled by hydrogen fuel cells.” “Our objective is to start manufacturing of our first-generation truck in Q3 of 2024,” says the company, adding that it will include the sensors, computer units, and redundant actuators required for Level 4 autonomous driving.

“Our focus will be on financing, continuing to attract great personnel, and establishing our production facilities between now and then,” he stated.

The manufacturing plant will be positioned in North America to better handle “US supply chain concerns,” according to the business.

“Hydron uses a direct-to-customer sales approach, with the majority of the order transaction taking place online,” Chen explained.

The corporation stated that future markets in Europe and the Middle East are among its goals.

While Hydron does not presently generate hydrogen, he stated that the company intends to partner with premier hydrogen providers to provide hydrogen refueling infrastructure along major freight routes.

Chen believes that the US Department of Energy’s newly stated initiatives to push clean hydrogen to the forefront of alternative fuels, in collaboration with academic and business partners, will only assist.

“I’m here today to inform you that we’re on the verge of a hydrogen revolution. And this government is preparing to make the most of it,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated a few days before Hydron’s announcement in an online presentation.

The Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Earth shot initiative aims to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen below $1 per kilogram at the site of generation by 80% in a decade.

Granholm also announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a notice of intent to provide $8.5 billion for the development of at least four clean hydrogen hubs across the country — at least one producing clean hydrogen from fossil fuels, one from nuclear power, and one from renewables — describing the notice as the first step in getting the money.

“We regard the DOE’s support for hydrogen as a big positive for both the country and the business,” Chen added.

Hydron set themselves a difficult challenge

Established American truck manufacturers such as Daimler Trucks North America, Paccar Inc., Volvo Group, and Navistar — which together account for 100% of Class 8 retail sales in the United States each month — are all pursuing autonomous truck technology partnerships and preparing to offer those trucks under their respective brands, as well as taking their own early steps toward a hydrogen fuel market.

Then there’s Nikola Motor Corp., which was once a startup but is now a publicly-traded company with a brand new assembly plant in Arizona, a manufacturing joint venture in Europe with Iveco, a service and dealership network, its first battery-electric vehicles on the road, and plans for heavy-duty hydrogen-powered trucks and infrastructure well underway.

However, based on his experience with TuSimple, Chen, a Canadian entrepreneur, has a reputation for knowing the business, the players, the competitors, and exactly what is required to make a vehicle autonomously ready.

TuSimple went public in 2021, obtaining $1.3 billion in a standard initial public offering (IPO).

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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