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Hyundai expands US hydrogen truck business with California

Hyundai's Xcient hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric truck (Courtesy of Hyundai Motor)

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's leading automaker, has expanded its hydrogen truck business in the U.S. through a partnership with California to expand its presence in the green commercial vehicle market of the world's largest economy.

Hyundai Motor celebrated Thursday the official launch of the NorCAL ZERO Project, California's initiative for zero-emission freight transportation to the San Francisco Bay Area and California's Central Valley.

“The project demonstrates how the transportation and energy transition is achievable today and will serve as one of the building blocks for Hyundai’s initiatives to decarbonize ports worldwide,” said Ken Ramirez, head of Hyundai’s global commercial vehicle and hydrogen business.

Hyundai Motor was selected as the green commercial vehicle supplier for the project in 2021.

The manufacturer of the IONIQ 5 electric vehicle has built a hydrogen mobility value chain in North America in collaboration with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), a non-profit organization that aims to improve the climate through clean, efficient and sustainable transportation technologies.

The value chain includes building hydrogen infrastructure, providing hydrogen-electric trucks, supporting financial services, and operating and managing vehicles.

REDUCE 24,000 TONS OF CO2 EMISSIONS

As part of the NorCAL ZERO project, Hyundai Motor delivered 30 Class 8 Xcient fuel cells with a 6×4 drive axle configuration to GET Freight Corp., a truck-based logistics company of Glovis America Inc., a subsidiary of automaker Hyundai Glovis Co.'s shipping subsidiary.

A fleet of Xcient Class 8 fuel cells (Courtesy of Hyundai Motor)

According to Hyundai Motor, this shipment represents the largest commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered Class 8 fuel cell electric trucks in the United States. A Class 8 truck is a heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 33,000 pounds (14,969 kilograms).

CTE expects the NorCAL ZERO fleet to reduce more than 24,000 tons of CO2 emissions compared to diesel-powered vehicles by 2028.

Hyundai Capital America, a financial unit of Hyundai Motor Group, provides leasing and financing services to Glovis America.

The project is expected to gain momentum as FirstElement Fuel Inc., a U.S. hydrogen fueling station operator, recently opened a facility to fuel up to 200 heavy-duty trucks per day, Hyundai Motor said.

The automaker plans to deliver five more hydrogen trucks to California in the first half of the year in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program.

Write to Jin-Won Kim at [email protected]

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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