Automakers Gearing Up for Mass Market Hydrogen Trucks

A truck focused consortium, including major automakers, is spearheading moves to bring hydrogen fuel cell powertrains to the commercial market with the next five years.

H2Accelerate, comprising Daimler Truck AG, Iveco, OMV, Shell and the Volvo Group, has committed to work together to help create the conditions for the mass-market roll-out of hydrogen trucks in Europe. The move follows a joint agreement between Daimler and Volvo to cooperate on the development of new hydrogen fuel cell heavy duty trucks.
This consortium believes that hydrogen is an essential fuel for the complete decarbonization of the truck sector in the face of the poor range performance offered by battery electric technology. It suggest the large-scale roll-out of hydrogen fuelled trucks is expected to create new industries, such as zero-carbon hydrogen production facilities, large-scale hydrogen distribution systems, a network of high-capacity refueling stations for liquid and gaseous hydrogen and the production of the hydrogen fuelled trucks.

H2Accelerate participants foresee a decade long scale-up with groups of customers willing to make an early commitment to hydrogen-based trucking. These fleets are expected to operate in regional clusters and along European high capacity corridors with good refueling station coverage. During the decade, these clusters can then be interconnected to build a truly pan-European network.

It strategy is based on three phases starting with achieving volume production of fuel cell trucks amounting to thousands of units in selective clusters and location by the second half of this decade. By the decade’s end, production should reach into the tens-of-thousands working in Europe-wide major corridors being served by high capacity reliable refueling stations.
However, the consortium recognizes that, throughout the scale up, support from the public sector will be required. The participants pledge to engage with policy makers and regulators to encourage a policy environment which will help support the subsequent scale up into volume manufacturing for hydrogen trucks and a Europe-wide refueling network for zero carbon hydrogen fuel.
Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of the Volvo Group, said:  “Climate change is the challenge of our generation and we are fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement for decarbonizing road transport. In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent. The formation of the H2Accelerate collaboration is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in.”

Martin Daum, chairman of the board of management of Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of management of Daimler AG, added: “The participant companies in H2Accelerate agree that hydrogen-powered trucks will be key for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future. This unprecedented collaboration is an important milestone for driving forward the right framework conditions for establishing a mass market for hydrogen-based trucking. It is also a call to action for policymakers, further players involved and society as a whole.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *