Powered by hydrogen, the Hyundai H2 Xcient trucks will be hitting the roads of Switzerland as a means for the Seoul-based multinational automotive manufacturer to set up a strong case for its zero-emissions technology in a low carbon world.
The Hyundai H2 Xcient, with a loading capacity of 18 tonnes, has a 190-killowatt fuel cell and seven high pressure tanks that are capable of holding up to 35kg of hydrogen. This powerful combination of technology gives the truck a range of more than 400km.
Most of hydrogen is extracted from natural gas in a process that produces carbon emissions. Despite having first developed nearly two centuries ago, hydrogen fuel cells have over the years trailed behind as the push for green transport gave rise to combustion engines. On top of that, because hydrogen is expensive and hard to store, hydrogen fuel cells have also started falling behind with the introduction of electric batteries.
There is, however, good news for hydrogen fuel cells in the trucking industry. Despite the ability and higher costs of hydrogen-based energy, Hyundai, along with its partners, has argued that electric batteries are severely lacking in mountainous areas as bigger payloads would ultimately necessitate a bigger and heavier battery, and this would prove as a problem for crawling up the rocky mountains. But in Switzerland, with more than half of the country’s energy derived from hydropower, the Hyundai team responsible for green energy technology says that there exists the potential to extract “green” hydrogen from water with electrolysis–an energy-intensive, albeit carbon-free, process–if powered by renewable electricity.
“It is not enough to produce a truck. You have to take care of the entire ecosystem, find like-minded partners, and show this all makes sense for the customer,” said Mark Freymueller, Chief Executive of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HMM). While Switzerland’s green hydrogen will be far more expensive to generate than it will be for diesel, the South Korean motor company is confident that it will be a potentially big player in the market as soon as government bodies clamp down on carbon emissions which would consequently bring down the cost of clean fuel production. “It is possible to do this with a holistic approach and the right mindset.”