Today, the H2Accelerate collaboration has published a new whitepaper in support of the use of hydrogen in long-haul trucking, based on focus group discussions with truck end-users and logistics providers.
The paper sets out the conclusions of a series of focus groups with companies such as Amazon, Nestlé Waters, DB Schenker, and Kuehne-Nagel, who have the potential to drive significant market demand for hydrogen trucks and the growth of the sector.
In the paper, the H2Accelerate collaboration sets out the needs and expectations of trucking end users and logistics providers as these organizations look to decarbonize their operations. They also outline how hydrogen can enable end users to achieve their decarbonization targets while maintaining operations, especially amidst mounting regulatory pressure.
The whitepaper follows two others published last year setting out the need for hydrogen trucking and expectations for the growth of the fuel cell truck market. The group also published a policy position paper stating the requirements from the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation in February 2022. Further whitepapers are expected this year to inform end users, policymakers, and regulators of the benefits of hydrogen trucking and policy needs to enable the roll-out of trucks and infrastructure.
Understanding customer requirements for fuel cell trucks
The H2Accelerate collaboration has been formed by truck manufacturers Daimler Truck, IVECO, and Volvo Group, and hydrogen infrastructure providers Linde, OMV, Shell, and TotalEnergies. The central objective of the collaboration is to enable a commercially viable, pan-European hydrogen trucking system in the post-2030 period. As fleet operators and drivers are a crucial component of a successful rollout of hydrogen trucking, their needs and expectations ought to be well-understood and met as the system is being deployed. This will be achieved through consistent communication between hardware suppliers (such as those within the H2Accelerate collaboration) and end user groups.
The whitepaper found that the organizations, which have public-facing decarbonization targets, understand that hydrogen freight will be a required complement to battery vehicles in order to achieve full decarbonization of their operations. This is particularly true not only for long-haul applications, where the advantage of fast refueling over battery electric alternatives was stressed, but also for transport in grid constrained areas or in applications where vehicles are double shifted.
With regards to the cost and operation of the vehicles, end users were willing to accept that in the early stages of roll out, vehicles are likely to be more expensive and infrastructure more limited that the incumbent diesel trucking system. Several end users stated that while they would be happy to pay more in the short term to trial a small number of fuel cell trucks, their business model requires that in the long term, scale improvements and supportive policy allow hydrogen trucks to achieve parity with diesel. Similarly, it is expected that in the long term, network design, station availability, and vehicle maintenance develop to allow end users to achieve similar operational convenience and flexibility to diesel.
The full whitepaper can be downloaded from the H2Accelerate website.