With 1500 stations in pipeline hydrogen truck market in EU heats up

The European Union (EU) recently passed a bill to considerably increase the number of hydrogen car charging stations, which has stoked the market for commercial hydrogen vehicles. Trucks powered by hydrogen are predicted to become more common.

The EU Parliamentary Transport and Tourism Commission has considerably changed the current hydrogen charging station proposal, according to industry sources on the 23rd. Previously, the installation of hydrogen refueling stations every 150 km on significant European arterial highways by the year 2030 was required. The duration is extended to 2027 in the case of the amendment, and the installation distance is lowered to 100 km. According to the industry, the EU would have more than 1,500 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030, up from the present 150 or so, if the law is passed.

The purpose of Europe’s accelerated hydrogen infrastructure growth is to lessen its reliance on Russian energy and hasten the transition to carbon neutrality. As the entire EU is stepping out of the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure, which has been the main barrier to the dissemination of hydrogen cars, the industry anticipates that it will serve as an opportunity to broaden the ecosystem for hydrogen cars.

According to Han Byeong-hwa, a researcher at Eugene Investment & Securities, “the budget has been greatly boosted and the plan to create around 10 million tons of hydrogen annually in 2030 has been doubled. It’s more likely to integrate into it, he added.

Of course, at this moment, hydrogen vehicles are more than twice as expensive as electric trucks and have issues with the availability of hydrogen charging stations as well as the supply and demand for hydrogen fuel. The driving range is greater, the charging time is only a few minutes, and the car is also quite light. There is a chance that in the future it will be more competitive than electric trucks in mid- to long-distance logistics if the cost of vehicle production is reduced.

Trucks powered by hydrogen are being developed by automakers, and they aim to travel 800 km or more on a single charge. In order to develop hydrogen fuel cells, Daimler Trucks and Volvo Trucks established a joint company named CellCentric last year. Daimler is concentrating on creating the 1,000 km-long GenH2 large-scale liquid hydrogen truck. In June, Volvo Trucks also began testing a hydrogen fuel cell truck. The Swiss, German, and American markets have been settled by Hyundai, which was the first company in the world to achieve success in mass production and marketing.

Toyota is also creating and manufacturing large quantities of the Hino XL hydrogen vehicle. A hydrogen truck called the “Nicola Tre FCEV” prototype was recently unveiled by Nikola, an American start-up that suffered reputational damage due to the hydrogen vehicle fraud incident. Changchung Motors and Sinotruck, two Chinese manufacturers of commercial vehicles, are actively showcasing hydrogen trucks. Chinese enterprises’ expansion cannot be disregarded because enormous demand is anticipated from domestic consumers alone.

According to a representative from a commercial vehicle manufacturer, only hydrogen trucks are capable of handling the 35% of trucks in Europe that travel at least 500 km a day on average.