Transportation Centre

Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell set to hit Californian roads

Hyundai Motor Company’s hydrogen-powered trucks are set to hit Californian roads, with the vehicle manufacturer on Monday (July 26) confirming plans for its XCIENT Fuel Cell to hit the US.

To be deployed for two publicly funded projects to improve the air quality in the region, the XCIENT Fuel Cell will provide a maximum driving range of 500 miles (800km), and emit nothing but water – making it a great vehicle to decarbonise the heavy-duty transportation sector.

In order to achieve the above, Hyundai has teamed up with both public and private partners in the US to operate 30 of the Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, starting from the second quarter of 2023. It is believed the effort will make the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen trucks in the US.

A consortium led by the Centre for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Hyundai Motor recently won $22m in grants from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), and $7m in additional grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in support of this project.

“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.

“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 decarbonising freight and goods movement, as part of CARB and CEC’s clean air initiatives.”

In addition to the above funds, Hyundai was also warded a $500,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) to demonstrate in Southern California two Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy-duty trucks.

Largely funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the project contributes to the attainment of clean air standards in the South Coast Air Basin by reducing emissions from diesel trucks. Under the plans, Hyundai Motor and its fleet partner plan to begin operating these trucks in August.

It is believed that the trucks will be used for long-haul freight operations between warehouses in southern California for a 12-month period. Hyundai will also work hydrogen station developer First Element Fuel (FEF), to develop three hydrogen refuelling stations in the region to refuel the trucks.

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

Hyundai: Leading the way for hydrogen-powered SUVs in the US

Offering the only hydrogen-powered SUV in the US market, Hyundai Motor Company prides itself in its commitment to clean energy and fuel cell stack technology.

Hyundai started its commitment to hydrogen around 21 years ago, right at the turn of the century, and since that point the vehicle manufacturer has not looked back.

The NEXO, Hyundai’s latest fuel cell vehicle offering, was launched in 2019 and has since taken the Californian market by storm, with approximately 400-500 units running in the sunshine state right now.

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