Hyundai to put 1,600 hydrogen trucks on the road over the next 5 years

hyundai-xcient

Hyundai has confirmed it will put 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks on the road in Switzerland in the next five years, and plans to sell them in various other European countries too.

The 4x2 and 6x2 H2 XCIENT rigid trucks, the first 50 of which will hit Swiss roads in 2020, will be supplied though Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HMM), a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and H2 Energy. They will be powered by 100% green hydrogen produced by Hydrospider, a collaboration between Alpiq, H2 Energy and Linde.

The business model will see Swiss hauliers taking the trucks on eight-year contracts, paying on a per-km basis.

Mark Freymuller, president of commercial vehicle eco-friendly business development at Hyundai Motor, said the fee includes the truck, maintenance, battery replacement and hydrogen supply. He added that HMM will establish a fuelling infrastructure using existing fuel stations to keep costs down, so “solving the age-old chicken and egg problem”.

Hyundai H2 XCIENT 4x2 - technical specifications

  • GVW: 19 tonnes
  • GTW: 34 tonnes
  • Motor: 350kW
  • Fuel cell: 190kW
  • Range: 400km
  • Hydrogen tank size: 34.5kg
  • Time to refuel: 8 mins

While HMM will attempt to make the trucks as cost-effective as possible, chairman of H2 Energy Rolf Huber acknowledged that in most cases, the trucks will have a slightly higher TCO than equivalent diesel units. “If you’re looking for the cheapest truck, this probably isn’t it,” he admitted, though he stressed that the more miles a customer covers, the smaller the gap in cost will be.

According to Freymuller, the first batch of 50 trucks all have hauliers waiting, and he sees no issue with finding customers for the other 1,550 due by 2025. The company is talking to potential customers in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and France, and expects to expand out of Switzerland in 2020, he added.

Huber said the countries with financial incentives for operating clean trucks are the key target.

One problem the company faces is setting up an aftersales network. It has already ruled out piggybacking on the car network and is looking for European partners.

Edward Lee, executive vice-president of Hyundai Motor Co’s CV business division, said: “We believe this is the fuel for the next 100 years, and Hyundai will be the biggest player. This is the core business for our company.”

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Renault Trucks T Highs remain driver favorite for Fifth Gear Transport

Range T

Fifth Gear Transport has bought three new Renault Trucks Range T480 Highs, which will sport the refrigerated logistics specialist’s new livery. Specified as 6x2 tractor units, they’ve been equipped to act as flagships to head up its 38-strong fleet.

Each has a double bunk, air-suspended heated and ventilated driver’s seat, a 40-litre quiet fridge and a microwave. All have Renault Trucks’ Optidriver automatic gearbox paired to the French manufacturer’s DTI 13 engine which produces 2,400Nm of torque.

The Ipswich-based company’s decision to opt for Renault stems from past experiences with Premium and Range T gearboxes, as Fifth Gear Transport’s operation manager Dave Warburton explained: “As well as being fantastic all-round motors, the transmission is the best on the market. Gear selection is quick and smooth – it just makes for a more comfortable drive.”

Supplied by Norfolk Truck & Van on three-year repair and maintenance contracts, the firm finances its fleet in a number of ways including spot rental or contract hire deals, while some are simply bought outright.

“We opted to go for the repair and maintenance deal because the Norfolk Truck & Van team understands the business and always get the work done. This leaves us with nothing to worry about if something happens,” Warburton added.

Since hitting the road in Fifth Gear Transport’s new white and turquois livery, the Renaults have been achieving good economy figures Warburton said, with each one “getting between 8.5mpg and 9.2mpg on container runs out of Felixstowe”.

However he admitted that there are four Euro-6 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units also on Fifth Gear Transport’s fleet, one of which is the new generation with MirrorCams, which “regularly get around 9mpg to 10mpg”.

Despite the slight disparity in the figures, Warburton and his drivers still back the T Highs: “The trucks are working five days and nights a week on long distances all across the UK. The T High, with its flat floor, delivers a spacious and comfortable home-from-home environment specifically – our drivers are absolutely delighted!”