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Hyundai has begun marketing fuel cell-powered commercial trucks in Europe.

The company aims to build its fleet of Xcient heavy-duty tractors there to 50 units this year, and 1,600 units by 2025. Commercial fleet customers will pay only a per-use charge that covers insurance, refueling and maintenance.

Hyundai’s Xcient fuel cell-powered truck  (Image: Hyundai)

The Xcient, boasts Cheol Lee, who heads Hyundai’s commercial vehicle unit, is “a present-day reality, not a mere future drawing board project.”

Customized Haulers

Hyundai is shipping the short-haul trucks to its 9-month-old Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility venture with Switzerland’s H2 Energy, which will tailor the vehicles for specific duties such as food shipments. The first units are scheduled to go into service in Switzerland in September.

At the heart of the Xcient powertrain is a pair of 95-kW fuel cell stacks and 73-kWh storage battery. The system is fed by seven tanks mounted below the cab and cargo trailer that hold a combined 32 kg (70 lbs) of compressed nitrogen.

The truck is propelled by a single 350-kW Siemens electric motor mated to a 6-speed Allison transmission. The Xcient has a gross vehicle weight of 19,000 kg (20.9 tons) as a rigid truck and 36,000 kg (39.7 tons) as a tractor-trailer rig.

Top speed for the truck is 85 kph (53 mph). Hyundai estimates the range at about 400 km (nearly 250 miles) per fill-up, which takes 8-20 minutes.

Future Plans

The company says it is developing a variant of the Xcient for Europe and North America that will deliver a 1,000-km (621-mile) range.

Hyundai already makes the Nexo, a second-generation hydrogen-powered crossover vehicle. The company’s push into commercial trucks is the latest phase of its Fuel Cell Vision 2030.

The plan aims to build annual capacity for 700,000 fuel cell systems by 2030 for use in in cars, trucks, drones, ships and power generators.

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