The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office, in collaboration with the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office, has established technical targets for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in long-haul tractor-trailer Class 8 truck applications. These targets will help guide early stage R&D and serve as benchmarks for tracking technology.
Technical targets for advanced truck technologies are developed with input from the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP) and will be included in new Electrified Powertrain Roadmaps to provide the technical foundation for research priorities, addressing one of four key research areas covered under 21CTP.
Targets for battery electric tractor-trailer trucks will also be added to the Electrified Powertrain Roadmap.
These hydrogen targets were developed for the long-haul use case, assuming trucks can be driven the maximum daily range (750 miles) between refueling. Other use cases will be considered for battery-powered trucks that can be driven for 250 to 500 miles between charging events, where charging opportunities may exist at hubs, delivery points, or destinations.
The US market for Class 8 trucks is large and growing. The long-haul use case is important as 40% of Class 8 trucks travel between 250 and 750 average miles per workday (261 days per year), covering 70% of tractor trailer mileage.
Fuel-cell technology is emerging as an attractive platform for larger weight classes such as medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Hydrogen can offer high gravimetric energy storage density and fast refueling/recharging times, enabling longer driving range and higher vehicle utilization factors.
The high energy storage density offered by these hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles provides sufficient vehicle range to meet at least 95% of the daily routes based on preliminary analysis of data collected from US Census survey results and real-world drive cycle data collection.
Additionally, overnight hotel loads can use power produced from the same fuel cell used for primary traction power in conjunction with the powertrain’s hybrid battery storage, eliminating the need for auxiliary power generation.