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Daimler Truck bets on hydrogen and batteries

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Despite greater costs and a current lack of support infrastructure, the world’s largest truck and bus manufacturer is charting an ambitious zero-emission future and claims it’s not that far away.

The truck business of Daimler AG says it expects to devote the majority of its vehicle development efforts to zero-emission vehicles by 2025, and that battery and hydrogen-powered trucks will be cost competitive with diesel trucks later this decade.

Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum emphasized the company’s ambitious aspirations for hydrogen on Thursday, despite the fact that the technology isn’t quite there yet, and vehicle pricing are still expensive.

After being spun off as a standalone company from Daimler AG later this year, Daimler Truck, which includes brands such as Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz, announced its vision for a wide-ranging shift away from internal combustion vehicles. The trucking company and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicle division would be split apart as a result of the restructure.

Andreas Gorbach, the company’s chief technology officer, stated that by 2025, the “great majority” of vehicle development funds would be spent on battery and hydrogen vehicles. He anticipated that the cost of electric vehicles will decrease to parity with diesels after 2025, while hydrogen fuel-cell trucks would fall to parity with diesels after 2027.

Infrastructure for fueling and charging, he noted, is still “in its infancy” and “growing at different speeds around the world.”

Nonetheless, by 2030, the company’s strategy predicts that battery or hydrogen vehicles would account for up to 60% of sales.

By 2025, the business plans to cooperate with Shell to build a 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) hydrogen fuelling corridor connecting Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to Hamburg and Cologne, Germany. Shell plans to construct 150 hydrogen stations along the route by 2030. Commercial ports such as Rotterdam and Hamburg are important.

Increasing the number of zero-local-emission vehicles on the road is part of Europe’s strategy to substantially cut carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming and climate change. By 2050, the European Union wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a level that can be absorbed by artificial or natural mechanisms, such as oceans, soil, and forests.

Daimler Truck, as a publicly traded corporation, will be scrutinized by investors and analysts as it seeks to increase revenues from current products while also investing in new technologies that are likely to dominate the future.

While electric automobiles and trucks are now on the road, the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power huge numbers of vehicles is still a long way off. Hydrogen combines with oxygen in fuel cells to produce power and water.

Despite the difficulties, the corporation is placing a large bet on hydrogen. As zero-emission automobiles and trucks grow more common, Daum, the CEO of Daimler Vehicles, predicts that electrical grids would be unable to support an all-battery fleet of trucks.

He stated, “Both technologies will be required, and we want to dominate the industry in both.”

The business predicts that hydrogen will be used for long-haul routes, but that battery-powered trucks will be more efficient for shorter-range deliveries. Daimler Truck is testing a hydrogen-powered long-haul truck, the GenH2, and has battery trucks in client test programs, with mass production for Freightliners’ eCascadia and Mercedes-eActros Benz’s due in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

A majority of Daimler Truck shares would be distributed to existing Daimler AG shareholders as part of the separation. Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles are more focused on batteries, while the truck business is working on creating hydrogen fuel cells through a joint venture with Volvo. The restructuring as two separate businesses intends to offer each more flexibility to react to advances in client markets, as well as to take divergent pathways in technology development, with Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles more focused on batteries and the truck business working on creating hydrogen fuel cells through a joint venture with Volvo.

Because the prices of low-emission transportation are now greater than those of conventional vehicles, the firms claim that government incentives will be required to encourage adoption.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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