By Michael Elkins
Volvo (ST:) is currently running tests on its fuel cell electric trucks that only emit water vapor and have an operational range comparable to diesel trucks, up to 1,000 km. According to management, a second pilot phase will follow and will see customer testing on public roads.
Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will be suitable for long-distance and heavy, energy-demanding assignments. Fuel-cell electrics could also be a sustainable option where battery charging infrastructure is limited.
A fuel cell generates its own electricity from the hydrogen onboard instead of being charged from an external source. The only byproduct emitted is water vapor.
“I believe that the pilot tests will highlight the potential for fuel-cell electric trucks. The tests will run in a demanding, harsh climate, and [they] also give us a great opportunity for driving with heavy loads up to 65 tons,” said Jessica Sandström, senior VP of global product management at Volvo Trucks.
Volvo’s electric trucks will use two fuel cells with a capacity to generate 300 kW of power and will have a refuel time of less than 15 minutes, according to a Sept. 21 Volvo release.
The fuel cells for the Volvo pilot program will be supplied by Cellcentric, the joint venture between Volvo Group and Daimler Truck (ETR:). Cellcentric is tasked with building one of Europe’s largest series production facilities for fuel cells, specially developed for heavy vehicles.
The testing of fuel cell electric trucks in commercial traffic will start in 2025 with selected customers in Northern Europe, followed by additional trucks in more countries over the coming years.