Hydrogen burns cleanly, with zero carbon emissions, so the principal benefit of using hydrogen fuel cell technology is that it keeps the air cleaner and reduces potential hazards to lung health, while still providing truck drivers and owners with an operational range that is comparable to or better than that of a diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG) truck or bus.

How does a hydrogen fuel cell truck work?

All fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) run on electricity produced in a hydrogen-powered fuel cell – a set of proton exchange membrane electrodes that mix hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. Some of that electricity is used immediately and some is stored in a battery. Electricity generated by recapturing brake energy is also stored in the battery. The size and/or number of electric motors the truck or bus needs is determined by the type of work it does – construction, transportation, hauling cargo, garbage collection, etc. Since the amount of energy stored in the system is determined by the size of its hydrogen tanks, not its batteries, a hydrogen fuel cell truck or bus can have a much smaller battery than an all-electric truck or bus. Hydrogen can also be refilled very quickly, to maximize productivity.

Who makes hydrogen fuel cell trucks?

Hydrogen fuel cell trucks and buses are marketed by several different well known car, truck, and bus makers in the United States, Europe, China, India, as well as a few start-ups. However, many of their hydrogen fuel cell power and propulsion systems are designed, licensed, and manufactured through partnerships with advanced zero emissions technology engineering companies that have the on-staff talent, years of experience, and worldwide resources necessary to continuously improve the technologies inside hydrogen fuel cell electrical systems. It’s often the most effective and cost-efficient way for operators across the commercial, municipal, military, and consumer sectors to reach and stay at the forefront of the industry.

How much do hydrogen fuel cells cost?

Since hydrogen fuel cell systems are a comparatively new technology, their developmental and upfront installation costs have tended to be higher than traditional fossil fuel internal combustion engines (ICEs) and even many battery electric trucks (BETs). However, that’s no longer true in every case and the day-to-day operating costs of hydrogen fuel cell systems are often lower than both ICEs and full battery electric power and propulsion systems – especially in heavy duty work trucks and municipal buses. Just as important is that hydrogen fuel costs for operators have already been low, especially given how much more efficient it is compared to diesel or natural gas systems. This should only improve as more hydrogen fueling stations become available in key markets. So, while accurate price estimates for hydrogen fuel cells and their electrical propulsion systems will vary, they are now comparable to traditional systems and their cost continues to fall.

Related Topics to Explore

American Public Transportation Association • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) • Combined Charging Systems (CCS) • Depot Charging • Electric Bus Manufacturers USA • Electric Drive Transportation Association • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) • Emission Neutral Vehicles (ENVs) • Fleet Electrification Grants • Fuel Cell Buses (FCBs) • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) • Fuel Cell Forklifts (FCFs) • High-Capacity Storage Batteries • Hybrid Electric Buses (HEBs) • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses • Hydrogen Fueling Stations • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) • Smart Charging • Three-Phase Power • Ultracapacitors • V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) Energy Storage • Zero Emissions Buses (ZEBs) • Zero Emissions Vehicles


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