Volvo Trucks showcases new zero-emissions truck

The automotive giant develops a large truck that runs off hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

A truck that only emits water vapor, produces its own electricity onboard and has a range of up to 1 000 km. It’s possible with fuel cells powered by hydrogen, and Volvo Trucks has started to test vehicles using this new technology.

Photo: Volvo Group

Fuel cell technology shows a lot of promise for sustainable travel, but the technology is still in an early phase of development, and there are a number of challenges ahead. One major challenge is the need for a large-scale supply of green hydrogen. Another is the fact that hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for heavy vehicles is yet to be developed. However, companies like Volvo are working on developing the vehicles now, on the expectation that the supply of green hydrogen will increase significantly during the next couple of years, as many industries will depend on it to reduce carbon emissions.

To decarbonize transport, Volvo Trucks already today offers battery electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, such as biogas. In the second half of this decade, a third CO2-neutral option will be added to its product portfolio – fuel cell electric trucks powered by hydrogen.

“We have been developing this technology for some years now, and it feels great to see the first trucks successfully running on the test track. The combination of battery electric and fuel cell electric will enable our customers to completely eliminate COexhaust emissions from their trucks, no matter transport assignments,”

Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks

The fuel cell electric trucks will have an operational range comparable to many diesel trucks – up to 1 000 km – and a refueling time of less than 15 minutes. The total weight can be around 65 tons or even higher, and the two fuel cells have the capacity to generate 300 kW of electricity onboard.

Customer pilots will start in a few years from now and commercialization is planned for the latter part of this decade.

“Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks will be especially suitable for long distances and heavy, energy-demanding assignments. They could also be an option in countries where battery charging possibilities are limited”

Roger Alm
Generates its own electricity

A fuel cell generates its own electricity from the hydrogen onboard instead of being charged from an external source. The only biproduct emitted is water vapor.  

The fuel cells will be supplied by cellcentric – the joint venture between the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG. Cellcentric will build one of Europe’s largest series production facilities for fuel-cells, specially developed for heavy vehicles.

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