Hyundai’s XCIENT Trucks Hit The Road In California

Freight distribution in sunny California is taking an electric turn for the better, courtesy of Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered trucks.

  • Hyundai will operate 30 Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, starting from the second quarter of 2023 in California.
  • Grants won by a consortium that includes Hyundai have won close to $29 million to support the project.
  • Additional grant money will be used to support a 12 month pilot program.

Today Hyundai takes a big step in its hydrogen plans through the employment of 30 Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in California starting from the second quarter of 2023.

This will e the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the US and could spread to other areas if proven successful.

The automaker’s goal is to improve air quality in the region through the use of heavy-duty commercial trucks.

“We are proud to fund this hallmark deployment of 30 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and improve the air quality in Northern California,” said Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director of Fuels and Transportation Division at the California Energy Commission.

Trucks used are developed based on the XCIENT Fuel Cell, which happens to be the world’s first mass-produced heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen. According to Hyundai, the trucks can drive up to 500 miles total (or 800 kilometres).

“These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem. Public and private project partners have come together to take a big step forward in decarbonizing freight and goods movement, as part of CARB and CEC’s clean air initiatives.”
— Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director of Fuels and Transportation Division at the California Energy Commission.

Another angle of Hyundai’s impressive Class 8 truck © Credit to Hyundai

This project mixed public and private partners in the US, funded through $22 million in grants from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) and $7 million in additional grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Furthermore, this consortium wants to establish a high-capacity hydrogen refuelling station in Oakland, California. This would support 50 trucks with an average fill of 30 kilograms.

Another Unique Project Is In The Works

Hyundai was also awarded a $500,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) to run two of its Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty trucks in South California.

The goal is to get these trucks up and running by August. Trucks will be used for long-haul freight operations between warehouses in the area over a 12-month period.

“We look forward to seeing this important fuel cell project from Hyundai come to life,” said Ben J. Benoit, South Coast AQMD’s Governing Board chair.

“The development of long-haul zero-emission truck technology is key to reducing emissions that will provide immediate benefits to our air and our communities.”

Last year, Hyundai announced its plan to deliver 1,600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks to Europe by 2025. Impressive, right? What do you think of the automaker’s projects/future plans?

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