Dutch fuel cell system developer and integratorhas confirmed the development of a hydrogen truck based on an existing diesel truck. The first examples of the H2 truck, called Europa, are expected to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The Europa is a 4×2 tractor unit. Which diesel model will serve as the basis is not mentioned. However, it is said to be a “proven chassis from a well-known truck manufacturer”. Based on the published rendering, the conclusion that it is a Mercedes Actros is obvious. As is well known, Daimler Truck is also working on a fuel cell truck for the long haul with the GenH2 Truck, at least its prototypes are also based on the Actros chassis.
According to the announcement, the version that will be launched later this year will use 350-bar hydrogen tanks. With more than 50 kilograms of hydrogen on board (zepp.solutions will not be more specific at this point), a range of more than 700 kilometres should be possible. The usable electrical energy content of the hydrogen after conversion would be more than 900 kWh.
At the end of 2024, a variant with 700 bar is to be added to the range. With more than 80 kilogrammes of hydrogen (or the equivalent of 1,450 kWh of electrical energy), the range should increase to “well over 1,000 kilometres”. However, zepp.solutions itself questions how great the market potential of such a vehicle is: “Infrastructure for 700 bar refuelling of heavy-duty vehicles still needs to be improved in Europe, making the 350 bar version the vehicle of choice for the first customers and interested parties.”
The X150 fuel cell module and hydrogen tanks from zepp.solutions used in the H2 truck are also available as stand-alone units for integration into other vehicles. The system also allows “further stacks and/or modules to be integrated for more efficiency and range”, according to the company.
Called Europa, the vehicle is unsurprisingly intended for use in the European transport sector and was therefore developed based on EU regulations. For zero-emission articulated vehicles of class N3 (which includes heavy tractor units), the permissible gross weight is 42 tonnes instead of the usual 40 tonnes. Since the Dutch tractor weighs two tonnes more than the diesel-powered initial model, it will offer a similar payload. As a tractor, it is designed to transport a 45-foot container (13.6 metres).
“We’re excited to offer a zero-emission, long-range truck that can compete with its diesel counterparts in terms of payload, performance and usability,” said Kevin Schreiber, co-founder of the Dutch company. “And this is just the beginning. The integrated hydrogen fuel cell system X150 and our hydrogen storage systems are also available for integration by other manufacturers. We’re looking forward to their applications of our systems.”
The Dutch company had also presented two converted diesel excavators in January of this year.