South Korean automobile giant, Hyundai Motor, has shipped the first 10 units of the Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck, to Switzerland, the company announced in a press release.

A fuel cell is a device that converts hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) into electrical energy, and the cell releases -- water, electricity, and heat as by-products.

Hyundai plans to ship a total of 50 XCIENT Fuel Cells trucks to Switzerland this year, with handover to commercial fleet customers starting in September. The company plans to roll out a total of 1,600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks by 2025, reflecting the company’s environmental commitment and technological prowess as it works toward reducing carbon emissions through zero-emission solutions.

Notably, Switzerland is the country with one of the highest shares of hydropower globally, and can therefore deliver sufficient green energy for the production of hydrogen. This is one of the various reasons Hyundai chose Switzerland as the starting point for its business venture.

In addition, the Swiss LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles does not apply for zero-emission trucks. This nearly equalizes the hauling costs per kilometer of the fuel cell truck compared to a regular diesel truck.

The ‘Xcient Fuel Cell’ draws the electricity required from two 95 kW fuel cells, which convert the onboard hydrogen and oxygen from the surrounding air into electrical energy. The fuel cell operation is emission-free – the only by-product is pure water vapor.

Fuel cells have a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines. Most fuel cells operate silently, compared to internal combustion engines. With hydrogen replacing the petroleum fuel that is used in most vehicles today, Fuel cells can eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels; for hydrogen fuelled fuel cells, the only by-product at point of use is water.

"XCIENT Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project. By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society. Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem, where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like XCIENT Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation."said, In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Division at Hyundai Motor.

Hyundai Motor Company formed Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), a joint venture with Swiss company H2 Energy, which will lease the trucks to commercial truck operators on a pay-per-use basis, meaning there is no initial investment for the commercial fleet customers.

“Having introduced the world’s first mass-produced fuel-cell electric passenger vehicle, the ix35, and the second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle, the NEXO, Hyundai is now leveraging decades of experience, world-leading fuel-cell technology, and mass-production capability to advance hydrogen in the commercial vehicle sector with the XCIENT Fuel Cell,” Lee added.

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