Hyundai Motor Company’s commercial vehicle division (CVD) aims to have upgraded versions of hydrogen-fuelled Xcient Fuel Cell model on the production lines in three months’ time.
The big Korean is promising design and performance gains for what it likes to spruik as "the world’s first mass-produced, heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen".
"Hyundai Motor is leveraging more than 20 years of experience in fuel cell technology to further its vision of an eco-friendly hydrogen society," CVD CEO and president Jaehoon (Jay) Chang says.
"With 2021 Xcient Fuel Cell, Hyundai will contribute to the widespread adoption of commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen."
The 350kW e-motor has maximum torque of 2,237Nm.
The 2021 Xcient Fuel Cell’s is equipped with a 180kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 90kW fuel cell stacks, newly modified for this heavy-duty truck model, to boost fuel efficiency.
Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 31kg of fuel, while three 72kWh high voltage batteries provide an additional source of power.
Maximum driving range forecast to be around 400km with a hydrogen filling pressure of 350 bar.
Refuelling a full tank of hydrogen takes about eight to 20 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature, the firm points out.
The model is presently available for northern hemisphere customers in a 6x2 rigid body configuration as well as the 4x2 option introduced in the previous model.
Hyundai shipped 46 Xcient Fuel Cell units to Switzerland last year, four less than planned at one stage.
As of May, the cumulative driving range of those trucks in operation reached more than 750,000km, it reports.
Over that distance, the hydrogen-powered trucks have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 585 tonnes, compared to diesel-powered vehicles.
Hyundai will ship another 140 units of the new Xcient Fuel Cell to Switzerland by the end of this year as part of its plan to roll out 1,600 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks in Europe by 2025.
Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), a joint venture between Hyundai Motor and H2 Energy, is working on the introduction of Xcient Fuel Cell in other European markets.
"The customers are very pleased with the quality and driving comfort of the truck. There is a lot of interest for the truck outside Switzerland as well. We are very confident that we will see Xcient Fuel Cell trucks on the road in other European countries next year," HHM CEO Mark Freymueller says.
Hyundai also plans to present Xcient Fuel Cell to the North American market this year.
"Hyundai is in talks with several local governments and logistics businesses in the US to establish potential joint operations of hydrogen-powered trucks for various purposes," it says.
"The company is also planning to host Xcient Fuel Cell roadshows and other events open to the general public.
"China is another nation that has strong interest in heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen.
"Hyundai is carefully reviewing multiple options to introduce its fuel cell technology to corporate and government customers in China."