Hyundai delivers first fuel cell trucks to Switzerland
LUCERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The South Korean carmaker Hyundai presented customers in Switzerland with the first seven hydrogen-powered trucks of 50 vehicles that will bring zero-emission commercial vehicles onto European roads this year.
In the long run, proponents say hydrogen-powered trucks have an advantage over electric competitors in that they have greater range and require less charging time, but their uptake and mass production has been slow because they are expensive.
However, a McKinsey study in January found that green hydrogen could reach cost parity with diesel by 2030 if the relative efficiencies of power sources and the life cycle cost of a truck are taken into account.
Hyundai has teamed up with Swiss companies to build a value chain that includes the production of green hydrogen from hydropower, hydrogen filling stations and the service and maintenance of the trucks.
The customers, which include the supermarket chain Migros, will lease the trucks from Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM) for freight transport across the country, supported by the new hydrogen infrastructure.
Leases are concluded on a pay-per-use basis that does not require an initial investment. Hyundai plans to put 1,600 trucks on Swiss roads by 2025.
The H2 Xcient trucks have a 190-kilowatt fuel cell stack and seven high-pressure tanks with 32 kg of hydrogen, giving them a far greater range than comparable vehicles currently powered by electric batteries on the market.
HHM was founded last year by Hyundai and the Swiss startup H2 Energy to work with Hydrospider, a joint venture between H2 Energy, the industrial gas manufacturer Linde and the Swiss energy supplier Alpiq.
Hyundai plans to produce 2,000 units of Xcient fuel cells per year through 2021 to support its expansion plans as the demand for clean transportation increases.
Switzerland is a test case for hydrogen fuel cells in heavy cargo transport, said In Cheol Lee, executive vice president and head of the commercial vehicles division of the Hyundai Motor Company.
"With the successful delivery of the first H2 Xcient fuel cell trucks, we are proud to announce our plan to expand beyond Europe into North America and China, where we are already making great strides," he said.
For Europe, Hyundai has announced that it will next target Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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