Hyundai has a relatively long history with, and apparent resolute dedication to, hydrogen. That dedication goes beyond passenger vehicles like the Tucson Fuel Cell or Nexo. Today, its latest and greatest hydrogen effort is in the realm of commercial vehicles. Hyundai has announced that it is sending the first 10 of its new Xcient Fuel Cell semi trucks to Switzerland, where they will go to work moving goods while creating no harmful emissions.
This is only the first shipment, as Hyundai plans to ship a total of 50 of these Xcient FCEV semis to Switzerland by the end of this year, with deliveries to customers beginning in September. This will be followed by many more, totaling 1,600 hydrogen-powered Xcient trucks going to customers by 2025.
The Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell is powered by a 190-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell system, made up of two 95-kW fuel cell stacks. Hydrogen is stored in seven tanks, with about 71 pounds of hydrogen providing a driving range of almost 250 miles between fill-ups in the 4×2 version (but Hyundai says more accurate range figures based on configurations and loads will be updated later). It also employs a 73.2-kilowatt-hour battery and a 350-kW (469-horsepower) electric motor. It has a top speed of about 53 miles per hour.
Hyundai also says it is developing a longer-distance version good for 621 miles of driving, which is intended for global markets, including North America.
Though Hyundai hails this as the “world’s first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck,” other hydrogen semis have been put to use or will be made available soon. Toyota has been testing fuel cell trucks as part of its “Project Portal,” with early prototypes put to work at the Port of Los Angeles, on Southern California routes and even drag-racing a diesel-powered counterpart. Nikola has been working on its trio of fuel cell trucks for years. Honda and Isuzu also announced a partnership for hydrogen-powered heavy-duty trucks earlier this year.
As for the Xcient Fuel Cell, we like the look of this big rig, with the way light glints off its enormous grille. That said, we’re excited about the future, too, as Hyundai also recently showed off a retro-futuristic look with its HDC-6 Neptune hydrogen truck. Give us weird-looking semis that don’t pollute, and we’ll be even happier.