THP-E240: Did Hyundai’s Swiss Trial Just Unlock The Winning Formula For Heavy Duty Hydrogen Transport?

Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 240

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 240, Could Hyundai be taking the lead in class eight heavy duty transportation? I’ll go over this question and give you my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Could Hyundai be taking the lead in class eight heavy duty transportation? I’ll go over this question and give you my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where’s capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden and Welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

In an article in David Blekhman writes not only banks and chocolate Hyundai h2 from Swiss Alps to Oakland. Hyundai stands as the sole OEM globally that designs manufactures and integrates its own fuel cells into its own range of vehicles. spanning from passenger cars to class eight trailer trucks Hyundai has recently delivered 10 trucks to the Port of Oakland and as part of a deployment plan of up to 30 vehicles. This project is expected to be the largest fuel cell truck port operation in the US. The remainder of the order is currently in production at Hyundai Jeonju plant in South Korea, with the projected delivery by October of this year. The full operation is also around the corner when the hydrogen station is operational. Notably, the Jeonju plant manufactures all heavy duty trucks within Hyundai days lineup including a separate production for the innovative XCIENT family of fuel cell trucks. And as substantial as the Port of Oakland project may appear Hyundai days most significant global deployment lies in its commercial fuel cell truck operation in Swiss Alps boasting 47 vehicles in the hands of 23 commercial customers.

This project has distinctive origins rooted in Switzerland’s role as a pivotal transit country, which imposes a notably high road tax due to various factors such as gross combination weight and axle count. This tax can exceed 70,000 Swiss francs annually. Of course, zero emission vehicles are exempt, compelling operators to explore these alternative options. Initial experiences with battery vehicles from other OEMs left customers frustrated due to challenges related to payload and range, particularly in the demanding terrain. These challenges pave the way for the adoption of hydrogen technology. The author says that his first encounter with news of this new unique project was in 2019, when Hyundai hydrogen mobility or H H M was established as a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company holding the majority of the stake and the Swiss company h2 Energy HHM operates on a pay per use model specifically charging per kilometer. This comprehensive business model covers not only the vehicle itself, but also includes the warranty and propulsion energy in this case hydrogen. This approach presented an appealing business proposition where customers face no upfront investment while being satisfied with the performance of the trucks.

On the technical front, the Swiss project has accumulated a substantial operational distance of over four and a half million miles furnishing Hyundai with invaluable on the road data regarding power plant performance. This expertise is set to be leveraged in other projects globally, including the one in Oakland. And so when discussing hydrogen transportation, it’s crucial to consider the other side of the equation. hydrogen refueling. The Swiss project stands out as an exemplary solution. In this regard. HHVM has forged a partnership with hydro spider AG, a joint venture comprising h2 energy, which takes 45% alpiq, which is 45% and Linde, which has 10% hydro spider produces and delivers 100% renewable hydrogen to the project. This hydrogen is generated through electrolysis supplied by the Gösgen hydroelectric power station situated across the River Aare. Originally constructed in 1917. The plant underwent renovation in 2000, boosting its efficiency by 12% and enabling it to generate up to 50 megawatts. The power is routed to a two megawatt electrolyzer, yielding as much as 300 tons of hydrogen annually. This hydrogen is then distributed to 15 hydrogen stations across Switzerland. With additional stations in the planning phase. This robust infrastructure adequately supports the 47 trucks operating within the project. And a quote from Ken Ramirez, the Executive Vice President and Head of Global Commercial Vehicle and Hydrogen Business of Hyundai Motor Company.

The application is real and the users are very satisfied with the vehicle. We have the refueling time that’s very efficient. We have operations that are very much exactly what are the needs for the customers, we have a very successful deployment in that sense. Unsurprisingly, the vehicle configurations in the two projects differ significantly. This was project involves two axle rigid frame trucks geared towards good deliveries, whereas the Oakland application revolves around three axle tractors with hauling shipping containers out of the port. Europe also has an option for three axle rigid trucks. However, the powerplant architecture remains consistent. These trucks incorporate two high end manufactured fuel cells, totaling 180 kilowatts with a 72 kilowatt hour battery, and a 350 kilowatt motor to constitute an efficient power plant. In a Swiss project. hydrogen storage consists of seven tanks at 350 bar capable of holding 31 kilograms and providing a combined range of 250 miles and contrast, the Oakland project employs 10 tanks at 700 bar storing 68 kilograms of hydrogen and ensuring a 450 mile range before the next refueling. Martin Zeilinger, Head of Commercial Vehicle Life Cycle Management Technology points out in that truck we have tin tanks arranged in two rows, but we could configure 15 In three rows. Well, this approach would increase weight and cost slightly. If a special operation necessitates extended range, it is technically feasible to equip the truck accordingly.

The author also writes that the entire industry has been on edge awaiting the Department of Energy’s announcement of the winners of the hydrogen hub funding competition coming out in a couple of months. This competition aims to award six to eight US regions with a total of $8 billion to facilitate the development of the hydrogen economy. Undoubtedly, many of these hubs will require a dependable supply of hydrogen trucks. As an industrial giant Hyundai possesses the capability to invest in hydrogen technology research and produce the majority of the components it may require. Hyundai is currently evaluating the potential of liquid trucks and is making strides in advancing a high temperature fuel cell to enhance water and heat management. The company is also extending its offerings to various applications, including stationary mobility, marine aviation and other uses for its fuel cells. It’s clear that Hyundai is positioning itself as a leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology and its application in the commercial vehicle sector. Hyundai’s international deployments continue expanding with another project involving 44 trucks underway in Germany with its growing fleet and two decades of experience Hyundai as a full cycle manufacturer could potentially emerge as a prominent supplier in the coming years. Okay, so an interesting article on the strides Hyundai is making in their fuel cell development and distribution.

Obviously, they aren’t the only player in this market, which seems to be growing stronger every week, especially with Hyzon and Nikola bouncing back in their stock performance. And there are a couple of points in this article that I would like to discuss. The first is regarding how the Swiss view heavy duty transport, I can see several parallels and how the Swiss view internal combustion engines and how several states here in the US want to transition away from any and all ice vehicles, including heavy transport. And by combining those potential geographic opportunities with where the first Ira hub funding is awarded, could unlock real opportunities for companies like Hyundai and Nikola, and Hyzon and Volvo and others, the other factor that plays off that piece, and that’s the question of a dependable supply of trucks going forward. How fast can all of these class 8 manufacturers scale their inventory? And will they be able to meet demand in the coming years? If not, then what areas will get prioritized for delivery, while production scaling is still occurring?

All right. That’s it for me everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcast, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that will be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you are going to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.