Hyundai New Zealand hopes that a recent government funding win will help encourage more in the commercial sector to investigate hydrogen as a next-generation option for trucking fleets.
As reported previously, the Korean firm’s local arm was able to secure $500,000 in funding from the annual Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund to help with plans to deploy an initial fleet of its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle Xcient truck.
The firm plans to stage demonstrations and real-world testing with five Xcient trucks, in a move that it hopes will see brands adopt the more environmentally friendly option in the future.
Hyundai hopes to show that the hydrogen-based vehicles pack plenty of advantages over upcoming electric trucks, including shorter refill times, long range, and superior payload.
“We’re pleased to have received funding from the LEVCF to help us progress with the future introduction of FCEV trucks into New Zealand,” says Hyundai New Zealand general manager Andy Sinclair.
“We have long been a champion locally for the use of electric vehicles and alternative fuel technologies, and now have an opportunity to help fast track the large-scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the New Zealand road freight sector.
“The project will allow us to gain insight with vehicle efficiencies and driving range while in-service with two types of configurations in the form of a rigid truck application and/or combination trailer towing applications.”
Hyundai and Toyota lead the world for hydrogen vehicle development, with both brands already offering production cars that utilise the alternative fuel in overseas markets, in the form of the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai.
The main battle that hydrogen faces in markets like New Zealand is lack of infrastructure — even more so than electric vehicles. But, work is already underway to grow the number of fill-up points around the country.