Hyundai Motor’s delivery of XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in Europe heralds its commercial truck expansion to global markets.
Production capacity of the XCIENT Fuel Cell will reach 2,000 units per year by 2021 to support its expansion into Europe, the U.S. and China as demand for clean mobility grows. The increase in capacity will be backed by a USD $1.3 billion investment in addition to a previously announced USD $6.4 billion stake in establishing a hydrogen ecosystem to support creation of a hydrogen society.
In the U.S., Hyundai is collaborating with logistics leaders to supply mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty trucks. Hyundai revealed the fuel cell-powered HDC-6 NEPTUNE Concept Class 8 heavy-duty truck at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show in October 2019, hinting at what the future holds and Hyundai’s plans for it. To back this plan, Hyundai is partnering with companies to build a complete hydrogen value chain covering everything from hydrogen production and charging stations to service and maintenance. The North American market will also get a 6x4 tractor model. By 2030, Hyundai expects more than 12,000 fuel cell trucks to hit the U.S. roads.
Hyundai also is working with various parties in China, which aims to get 1 million hydrogen vehicles on its roads by 2030 as the country’s hydrogen industry is on a sharp growth trend, creating massive potential. Initially, Hyundai will focus on China’s four major hydrogen hubs: Jin-jin-ji, Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong Province and Sichuan Province. It is currently discussing cooperative initiatives such as a joint venture with local partners.
Three fuel cell electric trucks are scheduled for launch in China: a medium-duty truck in 2022, a heavy-duty truck in in a couple of years, and another heavy-duty truck strategically designed for the China market. With these models, Hyundai’s goal is to achieve aggregate sales volume of 27,000 units by 2030.
A key to Hyundai’s global expansion of fuel cell trucks will be the successful launch of XCIENT Fuel Cell in Europe. The seven customers who received the first batch of XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks will haul payloads of consumer goods around Switzerland, emitting nothing but clean water vapour. The operations will be backed by a robust green hydrogen ecosystem.
In 2019, Hyundai Motor Company formed Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), a joint venture with Swiss company H2 Energy. HHM also is partnering with Hydrospider, a joint venture of H2 Energy, Alpiq and Linde. The customers will be leasing XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks from HHM on a pay-per-use basis that does not require an initial investment. Hyundai will take the success in Switzerland to broader European markets as Hyundai establishes solutions and partner networks in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
As part of its production expansion plan, Hyundai expects to supply 1,600 commercial fuel cell trucks by 2025. Currently, Coop, Migros, Traveco, Galliker Logistics, Camion Transport, F. Murpf AG and G. Leclerc Transport AG along with others have placed orders for XCIENT Fuel Cell. They will be utilising the trucks to haul everything from food to cars around Europe.
To support the growing hydrogen ecosystem, Hyundai has a business case for more than 100 hydrogen fueling stations in Switzerland, which is enough not only for commercial vehicles, but also passenger fuel cell electric vehicles. Likewise, Hyundai plans to act as a sector coupler in bringing various players to the hydrogen value chain as part of its efforts to bring value.