Daimler concern (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) has presented a tractor truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It is assumed that the serial version, which will enter production after 2025, will have a power reserve of 1000 kilometres without refuelling with hydrogen. From 2023, the company plans to start testing a hydrogen truck together with potential customers.
The main alternative to cars with internal combustion engines is electric vehicles. They are rapidly gaining popularity, and governments are increasingly supporting them by providing subsidies for the purchase of such machines or even allowing them to be used they can drive faster than normal cars. But fully electric cars are not the only candidates to replace gasoline and diesel. The most notable among the other options is the transport on hydrogen fuel cells. The wheels in such cars also rotate from electric motors, but they get electricity from the fuel cell, on the move combining hydrogen with oxygen, which due to redox processes create an electric current.
Because of their simpler design and other reasons, purely electric cars have gained much more popular among manufacturers, which in turn has provided much more funding for developments in this area. However, hydrogen cars have their advantages, including fast refuelling and a larger power reserve, so some manufacturers continue to develop in this area and prepare production models.
Daimler presented a working prototype of a hydrogen truck, the production version of which must travel a thousand kilometres at a single gas station. It has a tractor-trailer design and is designed to carry up to 25 tons of cargo. The tractor is equipped with two liquid hydrogen tanks, each of which is designed to store 40 kilograms of hydrogen. Hydrogen is supplied to a unit of two fuel cells with a capacity of 150 kilowatts each. The car also has a relatively small battery with a capacity of 70 kilowatt-hours, which can temporarily provide another 400 kilowatts of power during climbs with a full load and in other situations. The current from the fuel cells is distributed to two motors, each of which has a constant power of 230 kilowatts and a peak of 330.
The company showed a video of the trip of a working prototype but plans to start full-fledged tests with customer companies in 2023. And the production of the truck should begin in the second half of the 2020s.
Some other manufacturers, such as Toyota and Hyundai, are also developing hydrogen trucks. Also since 2016, various versions of the hydrogen truck are shown by the American company Nikola, but recently its development has been called into question. On September 8, General Motors bought an 11 per cent stake in the company and announced that it will provide it with its technologies, including motors and fuel cells. Two days later the analytical company Hindenburg Research released a large investigation in which she accused Nikola of numerous falsifications and the lack of technologies that she claimed to have developed. Also in the investigation, it was claimed that the demonstration video with the ride of the Nikola One hydrogen truck was actually used by a truck without an engine, which was driven by inertia after it was towed to a hill. After that, the company acknowledged some of the claims, including those related to the ad and the use of third-party technologies.