Hydrogen-powered Hyundai trucks hitting the road in California

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Passenger cars and light-duty trucks have begun their pivot to EV technology, but for commercial trucks, it’s possible that the move away from fossil fuels will be toward hydrogen power instead, due to its greater range and shorter refueling time. Hyundai already has a fleet of 46 fuel-cell trucks on the road in Switzerland, and now the automaker has announced that it will deploy fuel cell big rigs in California.

Later this summer, two Hyundai Xcient trucks will start with a 12-month pilot program hauling freight in Southern California. Ultimately, 30 fuel cell trucks will be on the road by early 2023, based in Northern California. The initiative is publicly financed largely by the California Air Resources Board, and the fleet will be operated by a private company, Glovis America. The Hyundai Xcient class 8 trucks (tractor-trailers) have a range of approximately 500 miles. A high-capacity hydrogen refueling station will be built in Oakland. Their electric motor makes 350kW (469 horsepower), and the trucks also carry three 24.4kWh battery

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packs to store recuperated brake energy.

Hyundai is not the only manufacturer working on fuel-cell heavy trucks. Nikola and Iveco have said they plan to have fuel-cell-powered trucks on the road by 2023, with GM and Navistar launching hydrogen trucks under the OneH2 banner following in 2024, and Volvo and Daimler Truck fielding trucks in 2025.

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