Volvo and Daimler have placed bets on the hydrogen truck boom this decade

The head of the world’s second-largest truck manufacturer says hydrogen-powered heavy trucks are likely to reach chaos by the end of the decade as they are able to drive long distances.

Industry leader Daimler Truck chairman Martin Dowm told the Financial Times that diesel trucks will affect sales over the next three to four years, with hydrogen coming down as fuel between 20227 and 2030 before it “stands still”.

Martin Lundstate, chief executive of the Volvo Group, which had just bought a hydrogen joint venture with Daimler, said there would be “much more steeper ramp-ups” by the end of the decade after fuel-cell production began in 2025.

The Swedish truck manufacturer continues to aim Half of its European sales There could be a truck powered by battery or hydrogen fuel cells in 2030, when both parties want to have completely zero emissions by 2040.

Daimler Truck’s Martin Daum, left and Volvo’s Martin Lundstate © Daimler AG

A joint venture between the German and Swedish groups, Celentric will start producing fuel cells in 2025. Both truck drivers will use electric batteries, mainly for small trucks and heavy vehicles, where they can recharge overnight.

Hydrogen, however, is seen as essential for long-distance, heavy trucks that cross-border in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world and deliver goods to multiple destinations and where refueling stops need to be as short as possible.

Daum, who said the split between hydrogen and battery sales would end at about 50-50, said “40 tons requires a lot of energy to get to the top of a hill” and after diesel, the most efficient fuel for such work, hydrogen was the best option.

“Fuel cells and hydrogen will play a very important role,” Landstatt added.

Both men urged the government to provide adequate incentives for transport companies to move to green trucks, not just to ensure the necessary fuel infrastructure for hydrogen.

By 2025, Europe will need about 3,000 high-performance hydrogen refueling points, and by 2000, about 1,000, the company said.

On the need for trucks to build infrastructure at the same time, Lundstate said: “It could be seen as chicken and egg. But we said we would go for it. We would supply chickens. Someone else could supply eggs.

A plant that produces fuel cells

Dimler AG is working intensively to prepare for the production of cylindrical fuel cells

Acknowledging that hydrogen and battery-powered trucks will be more expensive than diesel-powered cars “for at least the next 15 years”, Daum noted that consumers typically spend three to four times more on a truck’s lifetime fuel than a car.

He added that early adopters – who would otherwise have to “pay fines” at higher prices – could be helped by government support through EU green deals or other incentives. However, he said the reasonable price of CO2 would be better through the tipping point of 2022 as there would be many more trucks to subsidize.

Lundstate stressed that the commitment of truckers was also important in helping to develop green hydrogen, considering the use of renewable fuels rather than natural gas as common now, as well as other heavy industrial fuels such as shipping and steel. “This joint venture is a clear stick on the ground,” he said.

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