June 19, 2021

Is Hydrogen Power the Future of Trucking?
Is Hydrogen Power the Future of Trucking?

Although electric vehicles are making headway even in the trucking industry, hydrogen power is rising in popularity, so step aside battery electric vehicles (BEV) and make way for hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). The trucking industry is essential, and the future of which fuel will run trucks is worth looking at.

Climate change, going greener, and saving the environment seem to be lifelong discussion topics, even more so for areas like transportation. Steps are rolling out to help save mother earth for our futures and the fates of subsequent generations, and the transportation industry is becoming a big part of that.

Trucking is Going Green for the Future

To combat the climate crisis and potentially reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the Biden Administration announced a move towards reducing U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. By reducing tailpipe emissions and boosting the efficiency of cars and trucks, the United States can reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector.

Along with this announcement, the Administration moved for advances in the electric vehicle charging infrastructure to get more electric vehicles and chargers on the roads as well as developing ehighways.

The trucking industry is moving towards cleaner trucks by introducing models such as the eCascadia by Freightliner, a fully electric truck featuring their Detroit ePowertrain eBattery claiming to have a range of 250 miles and recharges to 80% in 90 min. Although more environmentally friendly, there is a concern with battery electric trucks regarding recharging times and max capacity when traversing long distances.

Hydrogen Power vs. Battery Electric for the Future of Trucking

The hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric semi-truck may be an option to combat these concerns. A comparison of hydrogen and battery electric semi-trucks conducted by the European Federation for Transport and Environment showed the hydrogen fuel cell electric truck to be more efficient when looking at max range and recharging time for the long-haul.

They showed that, on average, a battery-electric truck operating at about 500 miles max range had an approximate charge time of 60 mins. The hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric truck had a max range of about 750 miles with an approximate charge time of 10-20 minutes. Hydrogen power seems to last longer and takes less time to charge, alleviating time concerns presented by the battery-electric truck.

The Roll Out of Hydrogen Power for Trucking

On June 7th, 2021, the Port of Los Angeles announced that, along with their partners, they were debuting five new hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks along with two new charging stations. The efficiency of the hydrogen FCEV truck will be tested in a heavy-duty setting. Will battery electric trucks have to take a backseat to hydrogen power if it proves more effective for the long haul, or will they work together side by side in unison based on preference; we’ll have to wait and see.