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Hyundai Motor Premieres Commercialized Model of Its Xcient Fuel Cell Tractor

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Hyundai Motor Company today premiered its new XCIENT Fuel Cell tractor, the commercialized class 8 6×4 fuel cell electric model, for the North American commercial vehicle (CV) market at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. 

The company is exhibiting the XCIENT Fuel Cell tractor and the hydrogen fuel cell system at North America’s most comprehensive advanced transportation technology and clean fleet event at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, through May 4.

At Hyundai Motor’s press conference, Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President and Head of the Global Commercial Vehicle and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Business at Hyundai Motor, emphasized the importance of achieving carbon neutrality to realize the company’s vision of ‘Progress for Humanity.’ He spoke of the company’s strong commitment to hydrogen mobility and shared its ambition to foster the development of a clean hydrogen ecosystem.

“We firmly believe that hydrogen is one of the most powerful and pragmatic solutions for achieving our vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ with emission-free mobility as a fundamental pillar for a sustainable society,” said Ramirez. “Our hydrogen fuel cell technology has pioneered the industry, with a real-world proven track record of its efficiency and durability. We are leveraging these merits to further transform transportation with hydrogen energy for various mobility applications, including commercial vehicles, marine vessels and even air mobility. We now look beyond mobility toward an integrated hydrogen ecosystem, from the production of hydrogen to its storage, transport and delivery. Hyundai is uniquely positioned to cover all aspects and deliver a seamless solution across the value chain.” 

Also at the press conference, Mark Freymueller, Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Business Innovation at Hyundai Motor, revealed the company’s plan for XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, underlining the company’s local partnerships to form a solid hydrogen value chain as building blocks toward accelerating the deployment of clean fleets in the U.S.

“We have been initiating hydrogen value chains in various regions for years. Together with our partners, we are making hydrogen mobility a viable solution for our customers. We go beyond the truck to include areas such as hydrogen refuelling and truck maintenance,” said Freymueller. “Here in the U.S., we plan to do the same since each case needs its tailor-made service approach, especially during the transition phase from traditional to hydrogen. We plan to provide every customer with the best hydrogen value chain scenario.”

The company aims to foster partnerships and future businesses to provide fleet operation solutions for hydrogen truck customers and expand the hydrogen value chain in the U.S., using its initial business entry as a bridgehead.

To that end, Hyundai Motor shared its outlook for an eco-friendly CV business incubation project at the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA), the dedicated electric vehicle factory being built in Georgia. The project is centred on the development of a hydrogen mobility value chain.

HMGMA will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies to produce up to 300,000 EVs annually and an innovative production platform developed and demonstrated by the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS). The Metaplant will incorporate an eco-friendly logistics system integrating hydrogen fuel cell trucks and a complete hydrogen value chain throughout the project.

Xcient Fuel Cell’s Proven Record for Reliability and Capability

At the press conference, Martin Zeilinger, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Motor’s Commercial Vehicle Development, introduced the commercialized model of the XCIENT Fuel Cell tractor, highlighting its technology and proven record for capability and reliability.

First launched in 2020, XCIENT Fuel Cell has been deployed in five countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Korea and New Zealand, and has accumulated over 4 million miles. It is the only heavy-duty fuel cell electric model with a proven record of real-world application and technological reliability.

The model shown at the event is the 6×4 tractor equipped with two 90 kW hydrogen fuel cell systems (total 180 kW power) and a 350 kW e-motor. Its gross combination weight is a maximum of 82,000 lbs and offers a driving range of over 450 miles per charge, even when fully loaded.

XCIENT Fuel Cell implements the world-leading hydrogen fuel cell system offered by HTWO, Hyundai Motor Group’s hydrogen energy dedicated business brand. HTWO’s business includes applying Hyundai’s proprietary fuel cell systems for various forms of mobility, such as advanced air mobility, automobiles, vessels and trains, and stationary power generation.

Zeilinger also participated in the industry panel discussion, ‘Staying Ahead of the Curve: Emerging Vehicle Availability,’ which covered fleet procurement, fuel cell storage systems, leading technologies for next-generation fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and timing of commercialization. He highlighted how Hyundai Motor pioneered fuel cell technologies with field-proven products and services deployed worldwide.

“Hyundai has been focusing on hydrogen for over 20 years,” Zeilinger said. “Our advanced fuel cell technology already is in use through various applications, especially in the commercial vehicle sector, showing its powerful performance and reliability.” 

Hydrogen’s Potential in the Commercial Vehicle Sector and Beyond

Due to their various advantages in production, transportation, distribution and storage, Hyundai Motor views hydrogen as the clean energy solution for CVs, including energy-intensive heavy-duty trucking. Hydrogen is an energy carrier with high density that allows FCEVs to provide sustained energy output suitable for long-haul driving and heavy loads. FCEVs enhance work and infrastructure efficiency compared to battery electric vehicles (BEV) by minimizing downtime with quicker refuelling.

With the U.S. government’s significant support and more players entering the hydrogen market, Hyundai Motor is confident that the total cost of ownership for FCEVs will drop considerably and that climate change and supply chain issues will accelerate the transition to clean energy sources.

Hyundai Motor Group also plans to develop a clean hydrogen ecosystem through a ‘Waste-to-Energy,’ in which the hydrogen production system uses the biogas extracted from organic waste such as food waste, livestock manure, and sewage sludge. Clean hydrogen is applied in various industries, including transportation, construction and power generation.

The Group is currently demonstrating the concept business model with a local Korean government and reviewing the expansion of the demonstration to cities outside Korea as well. The Group is also reviewing a hydrogen energy business model to integrate the whole value chain from clean hydrogen production through the ‘Waste-to-Energy’ to carbon capture, utilization, storage (CCUS), transportation, supply and applications.

Xcient Fuel Cell on Display From May 2-4 at Act Expo 2023

XCIENT Fuel Cell is on display at Hyundai Motor’s booth (#5888, open to the public May 2–4) and the company’s hydrogen fuel cell system. The company also operates an XCIENT Fuel Cell’ Ride & Drive’ test drive program at the expo.

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