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To decarbonize transport, Volvo Trucks already 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. The fuel cell electric trucks will have an operational range comparable to many diesel trucks–up to 1000 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.
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.
“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,” said Roger Alm, president, Volvo Trucks.
Fuel cell technology is still in an early phase of development and there are many benefits with the new technology, but also some challenges ahead. One of them is large-scale supply of green hydrogen, which produced by using renewable energy sources, such as wind, water and sun. Another is the fact that refueling infrastructure for heavy vehicles is yet to be developed.
“We expect the supply of green hydrogen to increase significantly during the next couple of years, since many industries will depend on it to reduce CO2,” Alm said. “However, we cannot wait to decarbonize transport, we are already running late. So, my clear message to all transport companies is to start the journey today with battery electric, biogas and the other options available. The fuel cell trucks will then be an important complement for longer and heavier transports in a few years from now.”
Customer pilots will start in a few years from now and commercialization is planned for the latter part of this decade.