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Hyundai reveals upgrades to hydrogen-powered truck

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Hyundai Motor Company has released images of its newly upgraded XCIENT Fuel Cell, which its hoping will be the world’s first mass-produced, heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen.

Hyundai said it has has upgraded both the design and performance of the truck, which is equipped with a 180-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 90-kW fuel cell stacks, newly modified for this heavy-duty truck model.

The fuel cell system’s durability as well as the vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency has been improved to better stay in tune with the demands of commercial fleet customers, says Hyundai.

“The 350-kW e-motor with maximum torque of 2,237 Nm further enables dynamic driving performance,” it said in a media statement.

Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 31 kg of fuel, while three 72-kWh high voltage batteries provide an additional source of power.

The maximum driving range of 2021 XCIENT Fuel Cell is set to be around 400km. Refuelling a full tank of hydrogen takes about 8 to 20 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature.

2021 XCIENT Fuel Cell is now available in a 6×2 rigid body configuration as well as the 4×2 option introduced in the previous model, with both expected to go into production in August this year.

Hyundai shipped a total of 46 units of XCIENT Fuel Cell to Switzerland last year. As of May 2021, the cumulative driving range of those trucks in operation reached over 750,000 kilometres. Over that distance, the hydrogen-powered trucks have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 585 tons, compared to diesel-powered vehicles.

Hyundai will ship another 140 units of the new XCIENT Fuel Cell towards Switzerland by the end of this year as part of its plan to roll out 1,600 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks in Europe by 2025.

Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor and H2 Energy, is working on the introduction of XCIENT Fuel Cell in other European markets.

“The customers are very pleased with the quality and driving comfort of the truck. There is a lot of interest for the truck outside Switzerland as well. We are very confident that we will see XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks on the road in other European countries next year,” said Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility.

Hyundai also plans to present XCIENT Fuel Cell to the North American market this year.

No word yet on Hyundai’s plans for hydrogen in Australia, but at the recent Brisbane Truck Show the Korean giant was clearly pushing for a bigger brand footprint here.

The Hyundai Xcient prime mover has been available in Australia since 2018, but is rated for only single-trailer applications. Daryl Thornton said that his company has been working with the team at Hyundai Motor Corporation (HMC) to bring the Xcient Pro to Australia.

“This unit will provide us with a B-double-rated, 540hp, Euro 6 truck,” said Thornton.

“My latest advice is we are on track to see this unit in late-2021.”

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