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Hydrogen trucks, trends and technologies
© Toyota

Hydrogen trucks, trends and technologies

For energy intensive applications like long-haul and heavy-duty trucks, hydrogen is one of the most interesting energy carriers, presenting operators with a quiet, smooth and continuously strong performance, all without emitting any emissions. A major industry for North America, whether hauling foods, farming goods, construction materials or clothes, trucks are almost everywhere in the continent, with very few commuters being able to travel down the highway without seeing one. Sadly, many of these vehicles emit high amounts of carbon emissions and cause great harm to the environment. However, this is something that North America, with the help of its thriving mobility sector, hopes to change with the introduction of zero emission technologies such as hydrogen.

In California, a new programme was approved late last year (Dec 2020) to bring the cleanest vehicle technologies to low-income and under-severed communities to support the shift for zero emission trucks. This is now one of multiple programmes that are hoping to accelerate deployment. California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) provides incentives to purchase the cleanest medium and heavy-duty trucks. Each of these vehicle purchase incentive programmes helps businesses and individuals make the switch to clean vehicles and in return grows the market for these technologies.

Incentives play a pivotal role in supporting North America’s air quality, climate and petroleum-reduction goals. And in California, they accelerate the transition of fleets to zero emission in line with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order requiring all passenger trucks sold in the US state to be zero-emission by 2035, and all medium and heavy-duty trucks sold to be zero-emission by 2045, where feasible.

Whilst it could be seen that California is yet again leading the way in this sector, other states in the US, as well as Canada, are also looking to make the move to low or zero emissions. At the end of last year, The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) released a report which said hydrogen fuel cell trucks are starting to see real-world use, and such adoption is being driven by regional or national considerations1.

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