The 47 Hyundai XCIENT fuel cell trucks currently operating in Switzerland have overcome the overall threshold of 5 million km. So far, 47 hydrogen-powered commercial trucks are in operation at 23 Swiss companies in the fields of logistics, distribution and supermarket fulfillment. The very first deliveries started slightly more than 2 years ago, in 2020.
Hyundai fuel cell trucks: towards mass production?
According to the plans shared by the South Korean manufacturer, the XCIENT fuel cell trucks are expected to be the very first mass-produced hydrogen heavy-duty trucks. The vehicles are equipped with a 180-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 90-kW fuel cell stacks. The 350-kW e-motor with maximum torque of 2,237 Nm enables dynamic driving performance. Its seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 31 kg of fuel, while a 72-kWh-powered set of three batteries supports the performance. The driving range is over 400 km per charge in real world conditions.
“XCIENT Fuel Cell is the world’s first heavy-duty fuel cell truck to achieve 5 million km of cumulative driving in real-life customer operation,” said Mark Freymueller, Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Business Innovation at Hyundai Motor Company. “The experience we’ve gained and the milestone we’ve achieved in Switzerland will provide good insights to many countries that are preparing to transition to a sustainable hydrogen society. Based on this proven track record of successful operation in Switzerland, we will expand this business throughout Europe”. Here’s our recent interview with Martin Zeilinger, Head of Commercial Vehicle Development Tech Unit, Hyundai Motor Company, talking about the project Hyundai shared with IVECO on the brand-new eDaily FCEV version.
Rumors about the end of Hyundai’s HHM project in Switzerland
In 2019, Hyundai Motor established Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) in partnership with Swiss company H2 Energy. In the very last weeks, rumors have spread about the possible end of the hydrogen-related projects Hyundai is working on in Switzerland, including the XCIENT one, due to the current extremely fluctuating energy prices. According to some papers and websites, Hyundai would have cancelled “contracts for hydrogen trucks that were about to be delivered”, as reported by Electrive, “due to the lack of availability of green hydrogen”.
Nevertheless, HHM posted a statement on its official LinkedIn, denying what was said in the press and reaffirming the will to keep the hydrogen project alive. A couple of weeks ago, Sustainable Truck&Van made a question to Martin Zeilinger about how healthy the XCIENT project was. He told us they “had some minor learning to adjust, in terms of software and so on, but the vehicles are working quite well, they’re very efficient”. Zeilinger confirmed the will to expand to other markets, starting from Germany.