Commercial truck makers bet on hydrogen

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December 14, 2020

Photo courtesy of Toyota

While many passenger car makers focus on batteries to power electric vehicles (EVs), commercial truck producers are looking toward hydrogen fuel cells, devices that generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, leaving only water vapor behind as an emission. Initiatives include:

Cummins Inc., best known for its massive diesel engines in commercial trucks, the company’s expanding its fuel cell business, targeting $400 million in revenue for electrolyzers used in fuel cells by 2025.

Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says, “As the world transitions to a low carbon future, Cummins has the financial strength to invest in hydrogen and battery technologies as well as advanced diesel and natural gas powertrains.”

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Hino Trucks are jointly developing a Class 8 fuel cell electric truck (FCET) for the North American market. The companies will use Hino’s XL Series chassis with Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology. The collaboration expands upon the existing effort to develop a 25-ton FCET for the Japanese market. The initial demonstration vehicle is expected to arrive in the first half of 2021.

The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG have agreed to a joint venture (JV) to develop, produce, and commercialize fuel cell systems for heavy-duty trucks. Volvo will buy half of Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG for about $700 million. Closing of the 50/50 JV is expected during the first half of 2021.

Martin Daum, chairman of Daimler Truck AG and a board member of Daimler AG, says, “The hydrogen-based fuel cell is a key technology for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future. We are both fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement for decarbonizing road transport and other areas, and to building a prosperous jointly held company that will deliver large volumes of fuel cell systems.”