Volvo’s commercial trucking division is testing hydrogen fuel cell semi vans within the hopes of getting forward of the maturing expertise. With fuel cells constructed by CellCentric, a three way partnership between Volvo and Daimler Truck Automotive Group, Volvo claims its vans are able to 1,000 kilometers of vary (about 621 miles) and might be refueled in beneath quarter-hour.
Volvo Trucks has been “developing this technology for some years now,” mentioned firm president Roger Alm in a statement this week. Hydrogen fuel cells can be appropriate for long-distance hauling and will work in nations with restricted battery charging infrastructure, Alm mentioned. The firm began building battery-electric trucks in 2018, however they nonetheless aren’t broadly in service within the US. Now with hydrogen fuel cell vans, Alm says he expects progress within the provide of fresh hydrogen within the subsequent couple of years.
Hydrogen fuel cell autos and battery electrical autos (BEV) are comparable in that they’re each propelled by an electrical motor, however the former generates its electrical energy from the compressed hydrogen it carries, whereas the latter shops electrical energy generated from the realm energy grid. Both applied sciences are emissions-free “at the tailpipe,” that means that they don’t emit any carbon in movement. But there might be important emissions launched relying on the strategy of transporting hydrogen gasoline to stations, whereas BEVs are as clear as the facility grid it depends on — which might fluctuate from inexperienced sources like photo voltaic or soiled sources like coal.
A hurdle for hydrogen fuel cell autos continues to be the scarce availability of refueling stations. Currently, there are lower than 60 stations operational within the US, and all of them are in California. And according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership website, the variety of hydrogen fuel stations will enhance to only over 100 areas by mid-2023.
The most viable use case for hydrogen fuel cell autos is commercial trucking. With Volvo’s new truck, the corporate joins automakers like Toyota, which spearhead the tech in commercial and passenger utility, and likewise GM, which is working with Navistar on a 500-plus miles semi and is additionally utilizing the tech to build mobile power stations.