The car giant is developing a large truck that runs off hydrogen-powered fuel cells
Spotted: Concern about climate change and sky rocketing petrol prices have led vehicle manufacturers to move more rapidly to develop new consumer electric vehicles. However, one area that is lagging behind is the development of electric heavy-duty trucks for carrying bulky cargo over long distances. Volvo already offers battery-electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, such as biogas. Now, the company has announced that it has developed a fuel cell electric truck powered by hydrogen.
Fuel cell vehicles work in a similar way to electric vehicles. However, instead of storing electrical energy in batteries, they generate their own electricity using hydrogen gas stored in a tank on the vehicle. They can fuel up in just a few minutes—much faster than electric vehicles—and are very sustainable, provided the hydrogen is produced using renewable energy. The only byproduct fuel cell vehicles emit is water vapour. While a number of companies are developing fuel cell cars, Volvo is hoping to be one of the first to market with a larger truck.
Volvo’s new truck will be equipped with two fuel cells, giving it an operational range comparable to that of diesel trucks – around 1000 kilometres. It will also have a comparable refuelling time of around 15 minutes or less. The total weight when fully loaded will be 65 tonnes or higher, and it will have the capacity to generate 300 kilowatts of electricity onboard.
Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks, suggests that these vehicles could be especially suitable for long distances, heavy, energy-demanding assignments, and in countries where battery charging possibilities are limited. He adds that, “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.”
Customer pilots of Volvo’s new truck will start a few years from now, with commercialisation planned for the latter part of this decade. In the meantime, Springwise has covered a number of innovations in the use of hydrogen, from underground storage options to wind-powered hydrogen production, and an entire North Sea island dedicated to green hydrogen production.
Written By: Lisa Magloff