By: Fabian Cotter

BREAKING: PLANS TO BRING the world’s first fleet of fuel cell trucks into commercial operation has energised a review of Hyundai’s aim to mass produce fuel cell buses by 2020, according to information issued at the 2018 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles show, in Hannover, Germany, today.

Hyundai is reviewing plans for mass production of hydrogen fuel cell buses by 2020, it says.

Hyundai Motor Company affirmed it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy (H2E). Beginning in 2019 and over a five-year period Hyundai Motor and H2 Energy will provide 1000 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks and an adequate supply chain for renewable hydrogen, the company says – the latter key for commercial vehicle use in general, including buses.

The new fuel cell electric trucks are expected to travel a range of approximately 400km in real-life driving conditions, it’s claimed.

The MOU signing ceremony took place in the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 exhibition’s convention centre and was attended by key individuals from each company, including Hyundai Motor’s executive vice president and head of Commercial Vehicle Division, In Cheol Lee, as well as chairman of H2E, Rolf Huber.

"We are yet again advancing the field of fuel cell technology in the automotive industry with today’s announcement of our ambition to commercialise the fuel cell electric truck for the first time in the world" said In Cheol Lee. "We will continue to seek opportunities for expanding into other markets by carefully monitoring multiple factors, such as fuelling infrastructure and governmental policies."

To cater to growing opportunities in the sector, Hyundai plans to diversify its fuel cell electric commercial vehicle line-up, it says.

"A sustainable hydrogen economy needs a designated ecosystem for hydrogen. This is why our collaboration between Hyundai Motor, H2 Energy, the Swiss H2 Association, and key electricity producers in Switzerland is strategic and makes a lot of sense," said Rolf Huber, chairman of H2 Energy.

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Fuel cell electric powertrain technology has advantages over battery electric powertrain technology in its applications to larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, Hyundai says. Fuel cell technology saves space and reduces weight, as well as being more cost efficient to apply as the vehicle size increases. Therefore, the technology is deemed to have an array of opportunities to be utilised in the commercial vehicle field.

The global demand for eco-friendly commercial vehicles is expected to increase as eco-friendly government policies are enforced around the world.


Hyundai Motor introduced fuel cell electric express buses during the PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea last February and is currently conducting a pilot operation with fuel cell electric buses in South Korea’s major cities, whilst reviewing plans for mass production by 2020, it states.

Hyundai Motor began the world’s first fuel cell electric vehicle lease in the United States, also supporting its wider transport industry, including FCEV taxis, and car-sharing services to further support the spread of eco-friendly technology usage.


H2 Energy specialises in the production and supply of renewable hydrogen in Switzerland, with business subsidiaries in Germany, Norway and Austria, it’s stated. The company is experienced in the roll-out of an optimised hydrogen ecosystem, which focuses on commercial viability for all stakeholders, it’s claimed.

H2 Energy plans to make Hyundai’s fuel cell electric trucks available to its Swiss customers starting with the dedicated members of the Swiss H2 Association, which includes several refuelling-station operators, retailers, and other customers focusing on eco-friendly innovative solutions for logistics and goods distribution.

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