Daimler Truck and Volvo Group have announced a new hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) joint venture – cellcentric – to accelerate the use of HFCs for long-haul trucks and other applications.
According to the Volvo press release, cellcentric will build one of Europe’s largest planned series production of fuel-cell systems, with operation planned to commence in 2025. These ambitions were revealed during an exclusive digital launch led by Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum and Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt.
According to the parent companies, purely battery-electric and hydrogen-based fuel-cell trucks will complement each other depending on the individual customer use case.
They concur that battery power will be used for lower cargo weights and for shorter distances, while fuel-cell power will be the preferred choice for heavier loads and longer distances.
Talking about this development, Daum notes that hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric trucks will be key for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future.
“In combination with pure battery-electric drives, it enables us to offer our customers the best genuinely locally CO2-neutral vehicle options, depending on the application. Battery-electric trucks alone will not make this possible.”
“Together with our partner Volvo Group, we are therefore fully committed to our fuel-cell joint venture cellcentric and we are both pushing forward the development of the technology as well as the series production preparations.”
“Regarding the necessary hydrogen infrastructure, it is clear that green hydrogen is the only sensible way forward in the long term.”
Major truck manufacturers in Europe have already taken a cue from this and are calling for the setup of around 300 high-performance hydrogen refueling stations suitable for heavy-duty vehicles by 2025 and of around 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations no later than 2030 in Europe.
No doubt this is one important part of decarbonizing road transport. But before that, one needs to create a policy framework ensuring demand and affordability, as CO2-neutral trucks are currently significantly more expensive than conventional vehicles.
According to Daimler and Volvo, this should include incentives for CO2-neutral technologies and a taxation system based on carbon and energy content. An emissions trading system could be an additional option.
Both companies will start with customer tests of fuel-cell trucks in about three years and then move on to series production of fuel-cell trucks during the second half of this decade.
All vehicle-related activities will be carried out independently from each other, as both companies remain competitors in fuel-cell integration solutions.
Image and content: Volvo Group