An Australian startup called H2X has revealed a zero-emissions pickup truck called the Warrego. The hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck will be the company’s first vehicle available for purchase. While H2X won’t mass-produce the Warrego, companies can buy up to five, and it represents a significant step for the electric vehicle market.
Vehicle emissions are a growing cause for alarm. In addition to contributing to the greenhouse effect, warming the earth, they contribute to acid rain by releasing nitrogen oxides. Transitioning to zero-emission transportation is a crucial step in fighting climate change, but electric vehicle (EV) initiatives have often missed crucial markets.
Bringing Fuel Cells to New Markets
Pickup trucks are the second-most popular vehicle type in the U.S., yet few EV companies make electric pickups. The H2X Warrego seeks to fix that issue by electrifying the popular Ford Ranger. Somewhat ironically, H2X initially planned the Warrego as a test, not a for-sale model, but buyer interest pushed them to sell it.
Pickups are an ideal use case for electrification, thanks to their popularity and the power benefits of electric motors. Electric engines can deliver more power and do so faster, in a smaller package than gas alternatives. The Warrego, for example, boasts an impressive 1,500 kg payload capacity and immediate torque delivery.
The Warrego will also feature regenerative braking and an energy capture system in the suspension, making it more efficient. H2X is offering it in all the standard Ranger body styles in both two- and four-wheel drive and hopes to sell it starting in April 2022.
Hydrogen Transportation Is Growing
H2X plans to offer other fuel cell-powered vehicles as well. The startup aims to create electric taxis and vans, too, as well as a hydrogen-powered generator. It’s not the only company pursuing a fuel cell-powered future, either.
Another startup called Hyzon Motors will soon start trials for its fuel cell heavy-duty semi-truck. Hyzon expects the truck to have a 400-mile range and 600 horsepower, hauling up to 82,000 pounds. Similarly, GM has partnered with truck manufacturer Navistar to produce hydrogen long-haul trucks to go on sale in 2024.
Scientists predict there will be 18 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. With hydrogen fuel cells breaking into these new markets, that could be a realistic goal. As more fuel cell vehicle options emerge, hydrogen infrastructure will expand, paving the way for even more EV adoption.
Hydrogen power is coming to vehicles outside of the nation’s roads, too. Roughly 35,000 forklifts use fuel cells in the U.S., and Airbus is looking into the possibility of hydrogen planes. Fuel cell-powered transportation is expanding faster than many people may realize.
Fuel Cells Could Drive the Future
Hydrogen power still needs to improve for fuel cells to become a common power source. Hydrogen fueling infrastructure must become more accessible, and hydrogen production must become more sustainable. With so many companies investing in the technology, that future may not be far off.
The H2X Warrego is the latest in a series of fuel cell transportation projects. If these trends continue, hydrogen could power the roads of the future.
Jane writes on green technology and renewable energy topics and works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co.
Jane Marsh, Contributor
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