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Volvo to launch trucks with hydrogen-fueled combustion engines; Westport HPDI

Volvo Trucks is developing trucks with combustion engines that run on hydrogen. On-road tests with trucks using hydrogen in combustion engines will begin in 2026, and the commercial launch is planned towards the end of this decade.


Volvo trucks with hydrogen-powered combustion engines will feature High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI), a technology where a small amount of ignition fuel is injected with high pressure to enable compression ignition before hydrogen is added. The advantages of this technology include higher energy efficiency with lower fuel consumption, and increased engine power.

Volvo Group has signed an agreement with Westport Fuel Systems to establish a joint venture utilizing HPDI technology. The joint venture is anticipated to become operational in the second quarter of 2024, following formal closing.

Trucks that run on green hydrogen instead of fossil fuels provide one way to decarbonize transport. Hydrogen trucks will be especially suitable over longer distances and in regions where there is limited charging infrastructure, or time for, recharging of batteries, the company said.

Volvo will begin customer tests with trucks using hydrogen in combustion engines in 2026, and the trucks will be commercially available towards the end of this decade. Already, testing in labs and in vehicles is ongoing.

The hydrogen-powered combustion engine trucks will complement Volvo’s offering of other alternatives, such as battery electric trucks, fuel cell electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, such as biogas and HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil).

Volvo trucks with combustion engines powered by green hydrogen have the potential to deliver net zero CO2 well-to-wheel when using renewable HVO as ignition fuel and are categorized as “Zero Emission Vehicles” (ZEV) under the agreed new EU CO2 emission standards.

It’s clear that several kinds of technology are needed to decarbonize heavy transport. As a global truck manufacturer, we need to support our customers by offering a variety of decarbonization solutions, and customers can choose their alternative based on transport assignment, available infrastructure and green energy prices.

—Jan Hjelmgren, Head of Product Management and Quality, Volvo Trucks



I would reform low sulfur diesel and use it in high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells driving electric motors, makes much more sense, it's cleaner more efficient less maintenance.

Roger Pham

Well, if you have diesel fuel, then just use it in existing diesel engines right now, these engines are affordable, last a million miles and relatively low maintenance.
Fuel cells are unproven and much more expensive, and to gear up supply chain to mass produce them would take way too much investment, plus all the maintenance and repair shops must re-tool and retrain their personnel, way too costly.
So, H2 combustion engines is the best solution to replace diesel fuel and yet can use existing manufacturing and servicing infrastructures, thus can be implement much faster and much more cost-effective.


Roger said:

' Fuel cells are unproven '

!! umpteen million miles driven

Expensive, yup, unproven, nope.

I find these H2 ICE heavy duty trucks very curious. There must be an emissions credit / tax loophole business case I’m not aware of.

A hydrogen ICE is going to get roughly half the efficiency of a fuel cell. H2 is currently $33/kg at the pump.

Over 1m miles as a nice round number, fuel cost is (very roughly)

Diesel: $800k
Electric: $170k
H2 FC: $3.2m
H2ICE: 6.4m

Unless that cheap green hydrogen arrives soon, this is going to be a very expensive truck to operate.


electric car insider said:

'H2 is currently $33/kg at the pump.'

California is not the world, and taking the cost of very low volume retail customers as gospel for trucking where volumes would be massively greater leading to economies of scale throughout is polemic, not remotely an even handed comparison.

And hydrogen is far cheaper in Europe, and a fraction that cost in China, where the really big strides are being made at the moment.

' The largest integrated green hydrogen production and refuelling complex in China is able to supply hydrogen at 35 yuan per kilo ($4.86/kg), near cost parity with diesel, according to reporting by the Chinese newspaper Hunan Daily.'

If I am trying to evaluate something I look at the the strongest reasonable case AGAINST instead of stuffing in anything, however inappropriate which can generate figures for what I am arguing.

The way you are looking at it simply cannot in my view lead to any reasonable judgement, but is just propaganda.

As I’ve pointed out before, I’m not addressing markets outside of the U.S. I won’t be stating that qualification in every post.

Other countries or regions with better access to natural resources or better system economies may be able to accomplish other price levels.

But pointing out that a command economy is able to price H2 at a low level is not a strong argument for the eventual success of a fuel. Brazil does a great job with ethanol, but no one else is following that path (other than a fractional additive, which has been widely criticized as counterproductive, and has terrible side effects on equipment in some circumstances).

No one has yet explained how the production of green H2 will be cost competitive with electrons, or how the required infrastructure expenditures will be funded on a competitive basis with electricity as a transportation fuel.

There were a whole lot of H2 trucks and fueling solutions on display at ACT Expo. Acquisition and operating costs still several times more than diesel, which is much higher than electric.

It’s going to be hard to be cost competitive with a H2 powered fleet.


electric car insider said:

' As I’ve pointed out before, I’m not addressing markets outside of the U.S. I won’t be stating that qualification in every post. '

Then your posts which purport to address the developments in the market and technology are entirely meaning free, since where the action is ain't in the US, although that may change to some degree with the Biden measures.

The Chinese market for trucking is several times larger than the US market, and it is that and others such as India which will determine the future of trucking, not the US.

And it is just as bad to talk about the 'cost of hydrogen at the pump' as having any relevance to what is will cost in volume when it is clearly massively constricted and low volume.

Petrol before the filling stations were developed was bought in cans at chemists, I believe, which was equally irrelevant to the future costs of retail petrol.

Notions of the degree to which China is a command economy are also much exaggerated.
Renewables, electrolysers and so on are all way cheaper in China, and that is not solely down to it being to some degree a command economy.

' No one has yet explained how the production of green H2 will be cost competitive with electrons,'

Not much point when your mind is made up, and the economics have been explained several times.

For the record, no one at all is saying that the cost of hydrogen will be equivalent to electricity, where that is available when needed, which is non-trivial to do in a system with a very high proportion of renewables, and doing things like supplying electricity for 9MW charging of losses may need input of hydrogen to provide it at peak times.

That is a different matter to total cost of ownership, which includes things like downtime to charge etc.

Depending on the routes travelled it can take way more than one BEV truck to equal what one diesel or hydrogen truck can do in a day.

That costs money.


Billions Wasted on Hydrogen Hype


H2-cuckolds are reality-alienated and advice resistant.


As electric car insider said and as I said below, it will all depend on economics especially in North America. Even if you drop the cost of hydrogen from eci's $33/kg to one tenth that or $3.30/kg, the fuel would still cost twice as much for a fuel cell truck and 4 times as much for a hydrogen ICE truck as compared to Battery Electric truck. Unlikely that this is going to happen. I would agree that the cheapest way to make hydrogen is to use nuclear power and high temperature electrolysis. It is probably possible to use solar energy for high temperature electrolysis but I am not aware of any work on that technology.

One of the real telling problems with using green hydrogen is from the leading line of one of the articles that Davemart provided a link to in a reply below: "Right now, the world produces almost no green hydrogen." If the goal is to reduce pollution and green house gases, then to the extent that we can produce green hydrogen, we should use it to replace the hydrogen that is now being produced from natural gas or, even worse, coal.

DM > Depending on the routes travelled it can take way more than one BEV truck to equal what one diesel or hydrogen truck can do in a day.

This would only be true only for long haul trucking, which is limited by the 11 hour driver duty cycle per day. For most drivers, that’s 500-600 miles.

Tesla semi has up to 500 mile range. A single charge mid-day would give you enough range to far exceed the driver’s ability to stay working.

Even if you consider team driving, which is not all that common, you have an extra 2 hours per day mandatory rest time.


A solid oxide electrolyzer cell can create hydrogen around $4 a kilo this is not bad considering if you use it in PEM fuel cells to drive electric motors it is more efficient than diesel.


In one of the links DM posted from china they mentioned they had gotten the fC stack price down to $550 per kW. Or about 10x the price of LiBs perkWh.

Or possibly higher :

A 150kW FC stack might be comparably priced with three 500kWh swappable packs potentially extending the effective range of battery class 8 trucks and permitting refueling to be as fast or faster than H2.

In China electricity is cheaper and the cost for 1 million miles (assuming the higher industry rates) would be about $150k. The cost of H2 in China varies by region with it varying by more than 100% but I think we can conservatively say 1,000,000 miles would cost between $500,000 -1,000,000.

China has extensive experience with fuel cell and battery electric busses. They have over 500k BEBs and over 2k FCBs. They also have over 700k commercial battery trucks. China recentlly had their Kitty Hawk moment with a class 8 FC trek. In contrast last year they added 15,000 trucks with swappable batteries. It would seem that in China batteries are making more progress than fuel cells.

Roger Pham

Ok, H2 vs Battery...Let the competition begin. Oh...but why? It would be much more practical to have BOTH, even in one vehicle, where by they can complement each other. That's is the approach that China is taking.


Both where it makes sense. I haven’t seen many details on China’s Class 8 FCV but on those from Honda, Hyundai, and Quantron they include 72, 120,and 200 kWh batteries. With that much battery it makes sense to include a plug which would mean these are hybrids with an H2 range extender.

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