Hyundai Motor enters green commercial vehicle market with hydrogen trucks

By Cho Chung-un
  • Published : Sept 20, 2018 - 17:24
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2018 - 17:24

Hyundai Motor will supply 1,000 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks to Europe over the next five years, making its debut on the continent’s green commercial vehicle market, the company said Thursday.

The South Korean carmaker signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy at the trade show IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 held in Hanover.

H2 Energy Chairman Rolf Huber (second from left) speaks at a press conference held on the sidelines of IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 in Hanover. Next to Huber is Lee In-cheol, the executive vice president in charge of Hyundai Motor’s commercial vehicle division. (Hyundai Motor)

Starting next year, Hyundai will provide 1,000 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks to H2 Energy for five years. The Swiss energy company plans to lease the vehicles to its members -- four gas retailers and three in the food industry supply chain. H2 Energy produces hydrogen and supplies energy in Switzerland.

Hyundai plans to develop a hydrogen truck based on the platform for its signature commercial vehicle, the Xcient, while complying with European laws.

The green truck will run approximately 400 kilometers on a single charge, powered by a 190-kilowatt fuel cell stack, a high-functioning motor and batteries. It will have eight large hydrogen tanks.

The agreement came as European countries are stepping up efforts to expand the use of fuel cell electric vehicles. Switzerland, where Hyundai’s hydrogen trucks are headed, waives highway tolls for green trucks that weigh more than 3.5 tons.

Pilot projects are also underway across Europe by a number of companies, including the Swiss COOP and the Norwegian ASKO. In the US, Toyota has been testing hydrogen buses in Los Angeles harbor since last year. The Japanese company is planning a similar project in Japan to test the feasibility of hydrogen buses supplying products to convenience stores.

Assuming the leadership role in the green vehicle segment, Hyundai plans to expand its commercial vehicle lineups.

It has been developing hydrogen trucks for public use, such as garbage trucks. The company also plans to provide dozens of city buses to municipalities around the country and to start commercial production of hydrogen buses in 2020.

By Cho Chung-un (