Smart Transport

Hyundai ships first 10 Xcient hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks

Hyundai has kick-started production of its Xcient heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell truck with 10 orders to commercial fleet customers in Switzerland.

The Korean company plans to ship a total of 50 Xcients into Switzerland this year, with handovers starting in September.

Hyundai plans to roll out a total of 1,600 Xcients over the next five years, reflecting the company’s plans to offer hydrogen solutions to help the heavy truck industry reduce emissions.

In Cheol Lee, Hyundai Motor executive vice president and head of commercial vehicle division, said: “Xcient Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project. 

“By putting this vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society.”

The Xcient is powered by a 190-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with dual 95-kW fuel cell stacks. 

Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 32.09 kg of hydrogen. 

The driving range for XCIENT Fuel Cell is about 250 miles on a single refuelling, which takes around eight to 20 minutes for each truck.

In addition to Xcient, Hyundai is developing a long-distance tractor unit capable of traveling 620 miles on a single charge.

It will be equipped with an enhanced fuel cell system with high durability and power, aimed at global markets including North America and Europe.

Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility

In 2019, Hyundai formed Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), a joint venture with Swiss company H2 Energy, which will lease the trucks to commercial truck operators on a pay-per-use basis, meaning there is no initial investment for the commercial fleet customers.

Hyundai chose Switzerland as the starting point for its business venture for various reasons.

One of the reasons is the Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles, which does not apply for zero-emission trucks. This incentive nearly equalizes the hauling costs per kilometre of the fuel cell truck compared to a regular diesel truck.

Hyundai’s business case involves using purely clean hydrogen generated from hydropower.

To truly reduce carbon emissions, all of the trucks need to run on only green hydrogen. 

Switzerland is the country with one of the highest shares of hydropower globally, and can therefore deliver sufficient green energy for the production of hydrogen. Once the project is underway in Switzerland, Hyundai plans to expand it to other European countries as well.

By 2025, Hyundai aims to sell 670,000 electric vehicles annually, including 110,000 FCEVs.

In December 2018, Hyundai Motor Group announced its long-term roadmap, “Fuel Cell Vision 2030”, and reaffirmed its commitment to accelerate the development of a hydrogen society by leveraging its global leadership in fuel cell technologies.

As part of this plan, Hyundai Motor Group aims to secure a 700,000-unit-a-year capacity of fuel cell systems for automobiles as well as vessels, rail cars, drones and power generators by 2030.

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