Hyundai will put 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks on Swiss roads in five years

Will Shiers
September 26, 2019


Hyundai will put 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks on the road in Switzerland in the next five years, and has 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 sees Swiss hauliers taking the trucks on eight-year contracts, paying on a per km basis. According to Mark Freymuller, president of commercial vehicle eco-friendly business development at Hyundai Motor Company, this fee will include the truck, maintenance, battery replacement and hydrogen supply, “which makes it much easier for customers to replace diesel trucks without worrying”. He explained that HMM will establish a fuelling infrastructure, using existing fuel stations to keep costs down, and “solving the age old chicken and egg problem”. 

While HMM will attempt to make the trucks as cost-effective as possible, Rolf Huber, chairman of H2 Energy, acknowledged that in most cases the hydrogen trucks will have a slightly higher TCO than equivalent diesel trucks. “If you’re looking for the cheapest truck, this probably isn’t it,” he said, before explaining that the more miles a customer covers, the smaller the gap in cost between hydrogen and diesel. He said they start by understanding their potential customers’ businesses, and calculate their current TCOs. “Then once we have a benchmark, we try our hardest to match it, which involves some negotiating,” he added. 

The negotiating seems to work, as according to Freymuller “the smallest of all the problems we face is attracting customers”. He said 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. In fact, the company is also talking to potential customers in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and France, and expects to expand out of Switzerland in 2020. Huber explained that target countries are those with financial incentives for operating the cleanest trucks. 

But one potential problem the company faces is setting up an aftersales network. It immediately ruled out piggy-backing on the car network, so instead is looking for European partners. 

Edward Lee, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Company’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.” 


Tech spec

Hyundai H2 XCIENT 4x2

GVW: 19 tonnes

GTW: 34 tonnes

Motor: 350kW

Fuel cell: 190kW

Range: 400km

Hydrogen tank size: 34.5kg

Time to refuel: 8 minutes

About the Author


Will Shiers

Will has been the editor of Commercial Motor magazine since 2011 and is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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