The industry is not yet competitive with diesel “cousins”. The hope is to cut costs to make hydrogen trucks more affordable
Over a thousand kilometers with a full of… H2. Daimler Truck’s hydrogen truck is a record that inspires optimism in the field of sustainable mobility.
The vehicle has covered 1047 km to conclude a few days ago its demonstration trip to Berlin. The manufacturer, linked to Mercedes, has thus tried to turn on a light on the potential of hydrogen as affordable technology for the logistics sector. The GenH2 truck started its demonstration ride at the group’s factory in Woerth am Rhein on Monday afternoon, near the French border. The next day he arrived in the German capital. The prototype made the journey fully loaded with only one fill of liquid hydrogen, demonstrating that it can match the range of a diesel competitor. A fact that pushes the manufacturer to talk about “another milestone” reached.
“You are demonstrating that a heavy load can be transported over a long distance in a sustainable way,” said Petra Dick-Walther, State Secretary for the Economy of the German Rhineland-Palatinate region, at the departure ceremony.
Things are actually a little more complex. After so many years in which hydrogen has been described as the potential “game changer” of mobility, it has not yet managed to become mainstream.
The reasons are different: in the meantime, the source of energy must always be kept in mind. In fact, hydrogen is produced through the electrolysis of water, but it is a “green” fuel only if the electricity necessary for the process is obtained from renewable sources. When you start from coal or natural gas, it becomes just a derivative of fossil fuels and is much less environmentally friendly.
The present and future of hydrogen, therefore, are full of technical challenges, high costs and infrastructure still at a minimum. However, Daimler Truck is betting and thinks that the carrier will play a role in reducing emissions from road transport. Just like battery electric vehicles.
“To decarbonize transport, we need both,” said Andreas Gorbach, technology manager at the German company. A path that is also trying Volvo in recent years, as well as other car manufacturers.
According to current EU regulations, truck manufacturers must reduce emissions of new trucks by 30% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. But Brussels said earlier this year that it plans to update the targets upwards. The sector should expect targets of 45% by 2030 and 90% by 2040. In the coming years, therefore, there is a battle against time to lower the cost of green hydrogen to the point of making it really competitive.