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Hyundai’s Plans Introducing Hydrogen Powered Trucks In Europe This Year

Hyundai’s Plans Introducing Hydrogen Powered Trucks In Europe This Year
The race to offer fuel-cell trucks in Europe has been heated up by South Korea's Hyundai Motor and test the viability of hydrogen-powered heavy goods transportation modes by setting up plans to ship a new series of fuel-cell trucks to the continent later this year.
Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) said that the company will be shipping a new class of the Xcient Hyundai trucks that has fuel cells that are more fuel efficient and have a longer life span some time in the fourth quarter of the current year.
The popularity and use of hydrogen as a fuel for green transportation is lower than that of electric batteries because of the higher costs. However proponents of hydrogen as a fuel argue that hydrogen-powered trucks have an advantage in long haul transportation because of the longer range it provides compared to electric batteries.
Since last October, HHM has been conducting the world's most advanced pilot in the field by renting out "green" hydrogen trucks to commercial clients in Switzerland. HHM is a joint venture between Hyundai and Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy.
Freymueller said that the plans of HHM include expanding into other countries in Europe next year. "Germany and the Netherlands are the most likely," Freymueller said. Interest for holding pilot projects in Austria, Norway, France, Italy, Spain and Denmark have also been expressed to the company.  
This move by Hyundai will put the local players under pressure and to push ahead with their own plans for hydrogen powered vehicles. Such companies include Germany's Daimler in partnership with Sweden's Volvo and Italy's Iveco, a unit of Italian-American vehicle maker CNH Industrial, which is cooperating with low-emission truck maker Nikola.
Hydrogen is being talked about in Europe as a trucking fuel because of plans of environment ministers of the European Union to cut down CO2 emissions by a third by 2030 from 2019 levels. That has meant a possible ban on diesel and higher taxes. However the EU has also promised reduction of 75 per cent in road tolls for greener vehicles.
There is a wider intention in the EU of building a world-leading industry around the hydrogen technology and therefore such fuel cell electric technology driven vehicles will stand to benefit in Europe even though it is more expensive than battery electric vehicles.
According to a study conducted by consultancy Berylls Strategy Advisors predicts that about 25 per cent of new truck sales in Europe will be battery powered while about 10 per cent will be powered by fuel cells by 2030. However the report also stated that the ratio can change with scaling up of production of green hydrogen.
Benign regulation, environmentally conscious customers and reliable hydropower were the primary reasons for Hyundai choosing Switzerland for its pilot project on fuel cell powered trucks. About 58 per cent of the power mix of the country is accounted for by hydropower. The government does not charge any local road tax for no-carbon vehicles compared to vehicles powered by fossil fuels paying around 800 euros ($977) for each tonne of CO2 they emit.
"Anyone wanting to see how fuel cell technology works on the road should go to Switzerland," said Steffen Stumpp, head of the business unit commercial vehicles at Berylls.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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