SEOUL -- The first batch of 10 fuel cell heavy-duty trucks produced by South Korea's Hyundai auto group has left for Switzerland, heralding its inroad into Europe with hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles. Hyundai has modified its Xcient truck to produce a fuel cell model capable of delivering a travel range of about 400 kilometers (248 miles) on a single charge.
Hyundai said it would ship 50 fuel cell trucks to Switzerland this year as part of a deal with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy (H2E). Seven Swiss companies including gas stations and grocery store chains have formed a hydrogen energy association and H2E will lease out 1,600 fuel cell trucks by 2025.
"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," Hyundai's commercial vehicle division head Lee In-cheol said in a statement.
The Xcient fuel cell truck is powered by a 190-kW hydrogen fuel cell system. Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 32.09 kilograms of hydrogen. Refueling takes up 20 minutes. The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive heavy-duty trucks up and down the mountainous terrain.
With the shipment of fuel cell trucks to Switzerland, Hyundai vowed to target European countries. Hyundai Motor is developing a long-distance tractor unit capable of traveling 1,000 km on a single charge.
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