Volvo Trucks has announced it is testing fuel cell electric trucks powered by hydrogen that emit water vapor instead of greenhouse gases.

Already offering battery electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, the new hydrogen fuel cell trucks would offer a third carbon neutral option to its portfolio, with customer pilots to start in a few years and commercialisation planned for later in the decade.

Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks, said they’ve been developing this technology for some years and its great to see the first trucks successfully running on the test track.

The combination of battery electric and fuel cell electric will enable our customers to completely eliminate CO2 exhaust emissions from their trucks, no matter transport assignments.”

The trucks will have a comparable operational range to many diesel trucks – up to 1000km – and a refuelling time of less than 15 minutes. Total weight can be around 65 tonnes or higher, and the two fuel cells have the capacity to generate 300 kW of electricity onboard.

“Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks will be especially suitable for long distances and heavy, energy-demanding assignments. They could also be an option in countries where battery charging possibilities are limited.”

One of the challenges facing Volvo and other fuel cell technology developments is the large-scale supply of green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy sources such as wind, water, and sun.

“We expect the supply of green hydrogen to increase significantly during the next couple of years, since many industries will depend on it to reduce CO2. However, we cannot wait to decarbonize transport, we are already running late.

“So, my clear message to all transport companies is to start the journey today with battery electric, biogas and the other options available. The fuel cell trucks will then be an important complement for longer and heavier transports in a few years from now.” 

The fuel cells for the new trucks will be supplied by cellcentric, a joint venture between the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG, with cellcentric to build one of Europe’s largest series production facilities for fuel cells, specially designed for heavy vehicles.

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