Volvo Trucks begins testing vehicles powered by hydrogen-powered fuel cells

Volvo said the range for the fuel-cell semi-trucks will be as far as 621 miles, with a recharging time of less than 15 minutes. Commercialization is expected in the latter half of the 2020s. Photo courtesy Volvo Trucks

June 20 (UPI) — Volvo Trucks announced on Monday that it’s begun testing vehicles with hydrogen-powered fuel cells that emit water vapor instead of greenhouse gases, a move that’s part of the automaker’s carbon-neutral portfolio.

Volvo’s semi-truck manufacturing division already offers battery-powered electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels. The hydrogen fuel cell option would be a third for Volvo Trucks apart from gasoline-powered engines and could enter the market in the second half of the 2020s.

“We have been developing this technology for some years now, and it feels great to see the first trucks successfully running on the test track,” Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm said in a statement Monday.

“The combination of battery electric and fuel cell electric will enable our customers to completely eliminate carbon dioxide exhaust emissions from their trucks, no matter transport assignments.”

Volvo said the range for the fuel-cell trucks will be as far as 621 miles, with a recharging time of less than 15 minutes.

File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

A fuel cell is able to generate its own electricity from onboard hydrogen instead of relying on an external source, and the only byproduct would be water vapor.

“Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks will be especially suitable for long distances and heavy, energy-demanding assignments,” Alm added. “They could also be an option in countries where battery charging possibilities are limited.”

Fuel-cell technology is still in its early stages of development, which means there are still challenges to overcome. One obstacle is the large-scale supply of green hydrogen that’s produced by renewable energy sources like wind, water and solar.

Volvo Trucks said its zero-emission technologies will allow it to compete with companies like Tesla and Daimler Truck, which are also developing electric trucks.

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