Hefty grouping puts weight behind European hydrogen trucking

H2Accelerate aims for 10,000 to be built annually supported by refuelling network

Hefty grouping puts weight behind European hydrogen trucking
Zero truck emissions by 2050 is the aim


An alliance of heavyweight European companies has formed H2Accellerate to beat a path for the mass-market roll-out of hydrogen trucks there.

But the alliance is calling for government and industry support to make the initiative a reality.

H2Accelerate (H2A) involves Daimler Truck AG, Iveco, OMV, Shell and the Volvo Group and aims to have charging infrastructure in place and some 10,000 hydrogen fuel cell trucks being built annually by the end of the 2020s.

Its advent follows recent decarbonisation agreements involving the three truck-makers, with Iveco linking with Snam and Daimler and Volvo in a fuel-cell joint venture.

It also comes as many of the participants sign a joint European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), together with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) statement on the transition to zero-emission road freight transport by 2050.

"H2A participants believe that synchronised investments across the sector during the 2020s will create the conditions for the mass market roll-out of hydrogen fuelled heavy duty transportation which is required to meet the European ambition of net zero emissions by 2050," the grouping says.

It expects that achieving a large-scale roll-out of hydrogen fuelled trucks to create new industries: zero-carbon hydrogen production facilities, large-scale hydrogen distribution systems, a network of high-capacity refuelling stations for liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and the production of the hydrogen fuelled trucks.

Under the collaborative agreement, member pledge to:

Seek public support to fund early pre-commercial projects to activate the market on the path towards a mass market roll-out;

Communicate around the technical and commercial viability of hydrogen fuelled trucking at scale

Hold discussions with policy makers and regulators to encourage policies which can support a sustainable and speedy activation of the zero emissions long haul trucking market.

"Climate change is the challenge of our generation and we are fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement for decarbonising road transport. In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent," Volvo president and CEO Martin Lundstedt says .

"The formation of the H2Accelerate collaboration is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in."

The plan is for the decade long scale-up is to begin with groups of customers willing to make an early commitment to hydrogen-based trucking.

These fleets would operate in regional clusters and along European high capacity corridors with refuelling station coverage.

During the decade, these clusters can then be interconnected to build a truly pan-European network.

"The participant companies in H2Accelerate agree that hydrogen-powered trucks will be key for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future," Daimler chairman Martin Daum says.

"This unprecedented collaboration is an important milestone for driving forward the right framework conditions for establishing a mass market for hydrogen-based trucking. It is also a call to action for policymakers, further players involved and society as a whole.

Read how Volvo and Daimler launched their fuel-cell joint venture, here

For Iveco parent CNH Industrial (CNHI), the effort has to be underpinned by the necessary fuel-supply facilities and, echoing Daimler, buy-in from government and industry.

"The widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel-cell technology in heavy-duty transport is a function of the necessary infrastructure," president commercial & specialty vehicles Gerrit Marx says.

"We also need very concrete projects to demonstrate with hauliers and other stakeholders in the industry that this solution is financially and operationally viable.

"The ground-breaking H2Accelerate collaboration will create the conditions for this to happen and accelerate the transition to zero-emission transport."

To the point on hydrogen infrastructure, Shell urges government to dispose of regulatory impediments to its take-up and supply.

"The prize is clear. By boosting scale in a big way, hydrogen fuelled trucks will need to become available to customers at or below the cost of owning and operating a diesel truck today," Shell executive vice president for new energies Elisabeth Brinton says.

"This means truck customers will need to have access to a fully zero emissions vehicle with a similar refuelling time, range and cost range compared to the vehicles in use today.

"To achieve this ambition a clear regulatory framework is needed, including policies addressing the supply of hydrogen, hydrogen fuelled trucks, refuelling infrastructure and consumer incentives in a coordinated way."

The proponents plan for a two-phase approach, with the first aimed at rollout of the first stations and trucks.

This would involve:

  • 100s of trucks being built per year
  • More than 20 high capacity stations
  • Proving high capacity station concepts
  • Selective locations and clusters.

Europe-wide coverage is the goal of phase 2 in the second half of the decade.

This would:

  • Achieve volume manufacture of thousands of vehicles per year
  • Rapidly reaching more than 10,000 trucks
  • Europe wide coverage of major corridors
  • High capacity and reliability stations.


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