Volvo Trucks begins trials of 1000km range hydrogen fuel cell
Hardware

Volvo Trucks begins trials of 1,000km range hydrogen fuel cell trucks

Like many truck manufacturers, the Swedish company Volvo truck has been developing an alternative to battery-powered trucks for long-distance haulage for several years, but is only now beginning to test prototype trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells on a proving ground. A machine with a full load of up to 65 tons can overcome 1000 km at one gas station, releasing only water vapor during operation.

    Image source: Volvo Trucks

Image source: Volvo Trucks

It has long been known that hydrogen fuel is better suited to the specifics of long-distance traction unit operation, allowing for longer stops to refuel, refilling range faster and not forcing you to carry an impressive ballast in the form of heavy traction batteries. In the case of Volvo prototypes, a press release states that a range of 1,000 km can be refilled in just 15 minutes. Second, the energy infrastructure in many countries is simply not ready for the impressive strains that battery truck fast charging stations will put on them.

    Image source: Volvo Trucks

Image source: Volvo Trucks

At the same time, the Swedish manufacturer does not mention that the production, storage and transport of hydrogen fuel is very expensive at this stage and the proportion of so-called “green hydrogen”, which is obtained exclusively from renewable energy sources, is negligible. For this reason, Volvo Trucks prefers to talk about the commercial operation of such vehicles in relation to the second half of this decade. Until then, however, some of the company’s customers can take part in the testing of hydrogen trucks themselves.

In March last year, Volvo Trucks and Daimler Truck formed a joint venture called Cellcentric, which will develop hydrogen fuel cells to be used in the propulsion systems of both vehicle brands. Representatives of the German automaker have already pointed out that it is now important to develop both commercial-grade battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars. Volvo Trucks itself is using similar tactics, as is the fledgling Nikola Corp. The Korean Hyundai Motor is seriously committed to hydrogen. On the other hand, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is skeptical about the prospect of using hydrogen as an energy source and is specifically betting on semi-battery trucks. He even calls hydrogen fuel cells “dumb cells” and plays on the phonetic proximity of the terms “fuel” and “fool.”

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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