South Korean automaker Hyundai is to roll out 30 of its Xcient hydrogen fuel cell trucks in California after striking deals with two public and private partners.
The Class 8 Xcient Fuel Cell trucks will have maximum driving range of around 800-kilometres and, after having debuted last year in Switzerland, have already driven more than one million kilometres in real-world conditions.
Two specific agreements were revealed by Hyundai, starting with a supply contract backed by both public and private funding to deploy 30 of the trucks starting in the second quarter of 2023, which will be the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the United States.
The project, Hyundai’s NorCAL Zero project – also known as Zero-Emission Regional Truck Operations with Fuel Cell Electric Trucks – is led by the Center for Transportation and the Environment in partnership with Hyundai.
NorCAL Zero has been awarded $22 million in grants from the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program and over $6 million in cost-share funding from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
“These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem,” said Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director of Fuels and Transportation Division at the California Energy Commission.
The NorCAL Zero consortium – which includes Australian investment bank Macquarie Group – also plans to establish a a high-capacity hydrogen refueling station in Oakland, that will be able to support as many as 50 trucks with an average fill of 30 kilograms.
“Macquarie has actively been investing in projects and platforms related to the transition to a lower-carbon future and we are particularly pleased to contribute to an effort that will put 30 zero-emission trucks on the road in Northern California,” said Julian Liddy, senior Managing director at Macquarie Group.
“This project is an important milestone in our efforts to develop and progress similar zero emission vehicle rollouts around the world.”
Hyundai also announced that it would deploy two Class 8 Xcient Fuel Cell heavy-duty trucks in Southern California in a demonstration projected after being awarded a $US500,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD).
The project, largely funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is part of a larger effort towards meeting clean air standards in the South Coast Air Basin by reducing emissions from diesel trucks.
The two XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks will be used by an unnamed fleet partner for long-haul freight operations between warehouses in southern California over a 12-month period. Hyundai will also work with First Element Fuel to utilise three local hydrogen refuelling stations in the region to refuel the two trucks.