Hyundai's Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks Coming to California

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Hyundai plans to bring more than 30 heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell trucks to California.
According to Heavy Duty Trucking, this will be the largest deployment of Class 8 hydrogen trucks in America. The Xcient Fuel Cell electric trucks are expected to arrive in 2023. Here are more details about the project and how this will impact the future of the trucking industry.
View of the front of a white and blue Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell truck.
The Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell truck will soon hit the roads in California.

The NorCAL ZERO project

30 new fuel cell trucks will be deployed in Northern California as part of the NorCAL ZERO project. It’s also known as the Zero-Emission Regional Truck Operations with Fuel Cell Electric Trucks. The demo trucks will be modeled after the Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell.
Hyundai’s fuel cell trucks will help reduce emissions for freight and goods transportation in North America. A consortium consisting of the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Hyundai Motor received nearly $30 million in grants to support the project.
The automaker plans to establish high-capacity hydrogen refueling stations in Oakland, which will support up to 50 vehicles. The fleet will serve the entire northern California region.

What are the benefits of the Hyundai Xcient Fuel Cell trucks?

The U.S. models of the Xcient Fuel Cell truck will have up to 500 miles of range. Glovis America, a logistics service provider, will operate the fleet of Hyundai trucks.
CTE claims that the total cost of ownership for these trucks over six years will match the cost of Glovis’ diesel trucks, and provide savings later on. This would mean a much greener commercial fleet without financial sacrifices.
If testing is successful, more companies will be encouraged to make the switch to hydrogen-powered commercial fleets.

What this means for the future of electric trucks

The Xcient Fuel Cell truck first debuted in Switzerland last year. Hyundai claims that the fleet helped reduce CO2 emissions by about 630 tons compared to diesel-powered vehicles. While many automakers focus on producing battery-electric passenger vehicles, hydrogen technology might take over the market for large commercial vehicles.
Hyundai’s initial success with the fuel cell trucks pushed the brand to accelerate its efforts to launch the Xcient Fuel Cell truck in North America. Several companies are interested in this initiative and are looking to leverage hydrogen technology in their own freight delivery and drayage services.
Hyundai has already started talks with various commercial companies and logistics firms. According to Hyundai, hydrogen will be a key part of achieving zero emissions from commercial vehicles.
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