Trucks will be the first phase of hydrogen-powered vehicles

Hydrogen vehicles can finally be caught after years of precious promises. If so, it would be a convoy of clean semi-trucks – not a bunch of quirky passenger cars – leading the way.

big picture: We have been hearing about zero-emission, fuel-cell vehicles for decades as a response to our concerns about fossil fuels and climate change. But even now, the economic and practical challenges are still very difficult to overcome – except, perhaps, for the commercial truck fleet.

state of play: Like carmakers, truck manufacturers are under intense regulatory pressure to cut carbon emissions.

  • Tesla is developing an electric semi-truck, but most manufacturers say the electric truck only makes sense for shorter routes.
  • Pulling a heavy battery under a long haul truck is impractical if it takes up space that can be used for revenue-producing cargo.

Driving news: This week many heavy truck manufacturers announced they were eliminating major hydrogen-powered leaks.

how it works: Unlike traditional gasoline or diesel cars or trucks, fuel cell vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to drive an electric motor. The only tailpipe emission is water vapor.

  • One advantage of hydrogen fuel cells over battery electric vehicles is that they can be reduced for EVs from 10 minutes, versus 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the source of electricity.

Between the lines: Several automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and General Motors, have tried to market hydrogen fuel cell cars over the years with little success.

Biggest offense There is a place to be filled for acceptance (aside from the cost of technology).

Commercial trucks, on the other hand A large network of hydrogen refueling stations is not required, especially if they are operating on scheduled routes. An entire truck fleet can be refueled at the designated terminal.

  • Long-distance operators can build heavy fuel-fueled routes as well as a range of hydrogen or refueling depots over 400 or 500 miles.
  • Companies like Nicola are also expected to produce hydrogen from renewable sources at their fuel stations.

What to see: Hyundai officials told Axios that they had not abandoned the fuel cell passenger cars, and that the trucks they are developing for the hydrogen ecosystem would ultimately reduce costs and also make hydrogen-powered cars possible. .

  • Catch Meanwhile, battery technology is advancing, making electric cars cheaper and more attractive to consumers.
  • Yes but: Rapidly rising demand may pinch battery supply chains in a few years, warns Sam Analsuim, mobility analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

Bottom-lineSays Abulesim: “I don’t think we have the same solution. We can have both hydrogen and battery electric vehicles.”