© Tyler Jacobsen
© Tyler Jacobsen

California launches $53m hydrogen truck project in Bay Area

A $53m project to deploy 30 heavy-duty hydrogen-powered trucks onto Californian roads launched on Thursday (May 2).

The NorCAL Zero project aims to deploy 30 Hyundai Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks, with the assistance of an all-new commercial refuelling station in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Developed by FirstElement Fuel, the station in West Oakland will offer liquid hydrogen capacity for up to 200 trucks per day.

The XCIENT trucks will be operated by G.E.T. Freight, part of Glovis America, hauling containers from the Port of Oakland and cars from the Port of Richmond.

With a range of over 450 miles of a single hydrogen fill, project partners have said the trucks will provide Glovis with a total cost of ownership (TCO) over six years that is “nearly equivalent” to the TCO of its diesel trucks.

The truck deployments are hoped to pave the way to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from freight transport in the Bay Area, as the US state looks to start building its federally funded ARCHES hydrogen hub.

Read more: US DOE selects seven hydrogen hubs for $7bn funding

Councilmember, Rebecca Kaplan, said the project was “particularly significant” for Oakland residents, “who have historically suffered from disproportionate environmental burdens due to heavy industry, freeways and diesel trucks.”

Jim Park, Senior Vice-President, Commercial Vehicle and Hydrogen Business Development at Hyundai Motor North America, said the vehicle manufacturer was “incredibly proud” to be part of the “largest ever single deployment of heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks in North America.”

Backed with a combined $28.88m from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), California Energy Commission (CEC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and Alameda Country Transport Commission (CTC), project partners invested $24m.

“Moving freight transportation towards zero-emissions is key to California’s clean air and climate goals, and landmark projects such as NorCAL Zero put the technology and infrastructure in place to make a healthier future a reality starting now,” said Liane Randolph, Chair of CARB.


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