Hyundai Motor Company intends to deploy its latest hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks in California for two publicly sponsored projects aimed at improving the region’s air quality.
Hyundai’s demonstration trucks in the United States are based on the XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered heavy-duty truck.
XCIENT Fuel Cell made its debut in Switzerland last year and has since driven over one million kilometers in real-world settings to prove its commercial feasibility. The American model has a maximum driving range of 500 miles (800 kilometers).
Hyundai will use the knowledge learned from these public initiatives to grow its zero-emission commercial fleet business in the United States and form local relationships along the value chain.
Starting in the second quarter of 2023, Hyundai Motor will operate 30 units of Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in the United States, in collaboration with public and private partners. The deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the United States will be the largest ever.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) recently awarded $22 million in grants to a consortium led by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Hyundai Motor to support this project, as well as $7 million in additional grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
By the second quarter of 2023, Hyundai’s NorCAL ZERO project, also known as Zero-Emission Regional Truck Operations with Fuel Cell Electric Trucks, will have deployed 30 Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks with a 6×4 drive axle arrangement to northern California. The fleet operator for these trucks will be Glovis America, a logistics service provider. The trucks will be financed through a lease to the operator by Macquarie’s Specialized and Asset Finance business, which is part of the Commodities and Global Markets division.
The group also intends to build a high-capacity hydrogen refueling station in Oakland, California, capable of supporting up to 50 trucks with a 30-kilogram fill.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) recently received Hyundai Motor a $500,000 funding to demonstrate two Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty trucks in Southern California. The project, which is largely supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helps the South Coast Air Basin meet clean air standards by lowering emissions from diesel trucks.
In August, Hyundai Motor and its fleet partner expect to start running these vehicles. For a 12-month period, they will be used for long-haul freight operations between warehouses in southern California. Hyundai will also collaborate with First Element Fuel (FEF), the market leader in hydrogen refueling stations in California, to refuel the trucks at three hydrogen refueling stations throughout the state.
Because of the XCIENT Fuel Cell truck’s solid track record in Europe, Hyundai Motor was able to win the support of California financing agencies and local communities to demonstrate its hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Hyundai announced in 2020 that by 2025, it would deliver 1,600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks to Europe. The first 46 units were shipped to Switzerland last year, and in 11 months of duty, they have accumulated a total mileage of over one million kilometers, or roughly 620,000 miles. In comparison to diesel-powered vehicles, the fleet has decreased CO2 emissions by an estimated 630 tons over that time.
Because the hydrogen will be stored in higher quantities on the vehicle in tanks rated at 700 bar, or around 10,000 psi, the Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks that Hyundai will deploy in California will have a maximum driving range of 500 miles. The Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell truck’s maximum gross combined weight will be more than 37 tons, or around 82,000 pounds.