Polestar quadruples number of partners working on climate-neutral Polestar 0 car project
Solaris unveils Urbino 18 hydrogen bus

Hyundai Motor puts XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks into commercial fleet operation in California with $3.5M from EPA

Hyundai Motor has secured $3.5 million in 2021 Targeted Airshed Grant (TAG) funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deploy five XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks in California.


The XCIENT Fuel Cell 6x4 tractor model participating in the demonstration is equipped with a 180 kW fuel cell system and e-motor with a maximum output of 350 kW. The tractor’s hydrogen tank can hold 67 kg of hydrogen with the battery providing 72 kWh for a gross combined weight of 37,200 kg to deliver an average range of more than 450 miles per tank.

First Element Fuel (FEF), the largest hydrogen-refueling station operator in the US, will deploy the Class-8 heavy-duty trucks to deliver liquified hydrogen to their refueling stations for the next five years, including one year of demonstration with reporting duties to US EPA and four years of commercial operation.

This project is led by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), which applied for the TAG funding.

EPA’s TAG program aims to reduce air pollution in areas of the nation with the highest levels of ambient ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution. The focus of the TAG program is to provide funding assistance to projects that: 1) directly reduce emissions from priority emission sources; 2) generate measurable reductions of ozone, PM2.5, and/or precursor emissions; and 3) support National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) attainment in one or more of the nation’s most impacted airsheds.

Under the TAG program, eligible state and local air pollution control agencies must directly apply to EPA, but can select partners for a project consortium. For the 2021 TAG program, Hyundai Motor partnered with South Coast AQMD and FEF to develop a TAG application to support the replacement of FEF’s diesel-powered hydrogen transport trucks with fuel cell electric vehicles.

Having been selected as the truck supplier for this TAG project, Hyundai Motor expects to demonstrate its fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck technology in a long-haul transport operation.

Last year, Hyundai Motor also announced its NorCal Zero project, also known as Zero-Emission Regional Truck Operations with Fuel Cell Electric Trucks. (Earlier post.) Hyundai Motor will begin operating 30 Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks in California starting in the second quarter of 2023. This will be the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in the US.

Launched in 2020 by Hyundai Motor, XCIENT Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck. The company has already deployed 47 units in Switzerland where they have accumulated more than four million kilometers in driving as of July 2022.



These vehicles are proven in use already in Switzerland as well as in trials in the US


liquefying hydrogen takes a third of the energy in the hydrogen



Yep, liquifaction is energy intensive.

Folk like Daimler when they crunched the numbers came out with that increased load due to the lower volume requirements still make that the winner for heavy long distance transport with the falling cost of electrolysers and renewable energy.

They are using batteries for shorter and lighter loads.


This is another relatively short haul application that would be better served by battery electric. When I started reading this article, I wondered how they were going to use these trucks as they do not have enough power for North America long haul trucking. Most of the long haul trucks have between 400 and 500 hp (300 - 375 kW). I believe that the speed limit in Europe for heavy trucks is 90 km/hr (55 mph) while in the western part of the US where I live, the speed limit is either 75 or 80 mph (~120 to 130 km/hr). 180 kW continuous is not sufficient for long haul trucking in the US.

Also, it is interesting to note that in a recent Green Car Congress article, 4 Gen Logistics, a drayage company, has ordered 41 Volvo VNR Battery Electric trucks to haul freight between the Port of Long Beach and Southern California’s Inland Empire—a national logistics and warehousing hub. This is the same drayage route that Toyota was promoting the use of fuel cell trucks.

See https://www.greencarcongress.com/2022/09/20220914-4gen.html



' 180 kW fuel cell system and e-motor with a maximum output of 350 kW. The tractor’s hydrogen tank can hold 67 kg of hydrogen with the battery providing 72 kWh'

And you said:

' This is the same drayage route that Toyota was promoting the use of fuel cell trucks.'

A lot depends on the turn around times needed.
If you have to turn the trucks around fast, you can either use fuel cells, or wear out expensive batteries quickly by fast charging, which will still be far slower.

When Toyota ( and Kenworth ) were trialing the trucks, I remember turn around times being given as a major consideration in port work.

No doubt either can be used, just as fork lifts come in both battery and fuel cell versions, but there the battle is ongoing, and there would appear no reason to declare that batteries will be the victor in this application either.

It is all to play for.


North American long haul trucks tend to run close to full power continuously and 180 kW continuous is not sufficient.

There as a recent article on ZF and Freudenberg. "While Freudenberg will offer scalable e-power systems in kit form with various power outputs, ZF will offer complete electric driveline systems of up to 360 kW continuous power."



If trucks in NA are running close to full power continuously they must find it tough when they come to a hill!

It is also a bit surprising since efficiencies are rarely maximal at flat out, rather than perhaps 80%.


Gasoline or Spark Ignition engines are most efficient at wide open throttle or full torque but not at top RPM. This why the tendency has been to have more speeds to the transmissions so the power is limited by limiting the RPM. Diesel engines typically have no throttle and the torque is controlled by the amount of fuel injected. However, if you inject too much fuel, the engine will create black smoke. Some truck engines are programmed so that as the RPM drops off, the torque rises. Anyway, most North American semi tractors have 12 speed transmissions so you drop down to lower gears going up hills. Some companies govern the top speeds to 65 or 70 mph ( 105 or 113 km/hr) but some are running up to 80 mph (~130 km/hr).

The comments to this entry are closed.