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Hyundai Motor to mass-produce hydrogen-powered electric trucks

First batch of XCIENT fuel cell trucks exported to Switzerland

XCIENT trucks are moving to be loaded to a car carrier for export to Switzerland at Gwangyang Port, South Jeolla Province, on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
XCIENT trucks are moving to be loaded to a car carrier for export to Switzerland at Gwangyang Port, South Jeolla Province, on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group said Monday it has begun mass-producing hydrogen-powered electric trucks and has sent a batch of shipments -- first in the world -- to Switzerland from Gwangyang Port, South Jeolla Province.

Global automakers have produced prototypes or concept models of hydrogen-powered trucks, but Hyundai Motor is the first to mass-produce them. 

South Korea’s leading automaker said it will expand the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to commercial vehicles and cement its position as the world’s top hydrogen-powered vehicle brand. 

The company said it plans to export the vehicles to other European countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Norway, as well as the North American market.

Once 10 units of XCIENT fuel cell trucks arrive in Switzerland, they will be delivered to Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a joint venture established in September last year with a Switzerland-based hydrogen solution company H2 Energy. 

Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility will be responsible for renovating the trucks as special-purpose vans such as refrigerated vans, so they can be supplied to customers like gas station operators, distribution chains and food suppliers. 

Some 40 additional units of XCIENT fuel cell trucks will be exported to Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility by the year-end, and the number will be increased to 1,600 units by 2025, the company said. 

To lower the barrier for use of hydrogen-powered electric trucks, the company will offer the trucks not through sales, but via pay-per-use system, which automatically calculates and includes the cost for charging, insurance and other cost related to car repair and maintenance. 

XCIENT is a 34 ton-cargo vehicle that runs on two hydrogen fuel cell batteries -- a 190kW hydrogen fuel cell system and a 350kW motor.

It can drive up to 400 kilometers on a single charge which takes up to 20 minutes. Seven hydrogen tanks located between driver’s seat and the cargo area contain up to 32 kg of hydrogen.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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