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Volvo Trucks Emit Only Water Vapor and Have Comparable Range to Diesel

By October 5, 2022 5   min read  (747 words)

October 5, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, Volvo Trucks Emit Only Water Vapor and Have Comparable Range to Diesel

Swedish auto manufacturer Volvo has announced the release of a new electric commercial truck that only emits water vapor. This technology would be a huge step toward reducing vehicle emissions. The new trucks also reportedly have comparable distance ranges to diesel versions. If these claims are true, Volvo would revolutionize commercial vehicle production and help get supply chains back on track.

Optimizing Fuel Cell Technology

Volvo’s new trucks are the latest vehicles to utilize fuel cell technology that creates electric power from hydrogen molecules instead of fossil fuels. Rather than emitting chemical-filled smoke into the atmosphere, the cells simply release water vapor. If successful, the trucks would achieve their zero-emissions goal.

These particular fuel cells come from Cellcentric, a joint venture between Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG. It’s already one of Europe’s largest fuel cell producers for heavy machinery and figures to play a key role in the technology’s development.

Other car manufacturers have also hopped on the fuel cell bandwagon, including Toyota, Hyundai and BMW. However, Volvo’s new electric truck stands out from the others because of its reported long-range capabilities.

According to the Swedish manufacturer, these new trucks have an operational range of up to 1,000 kilometers, or over 600 miles. They contain two fuel cells that combine to generate 300 kilowatts of electricity, which only takes about 15 minutes to refill. The total weight can reach up to 65 tons without affecting the truck’s performance.

On paper, Volvo’s new trucks look like viable replacements for diesel versions that would significantly help countries that lack the resources to build a reliable EV charging network. Successful implementation of fuel cell vehicles would also largely eliminate the need for other eco-conscious driving habits used with gas-powered cars.

Testing Phase Set to Begin

Volvo rolled out its new trucks for testing in 2022. The company has to use its own refueling stations because most areas don’t yet have the infrastructure to support fuel cell vehicles. The initial testing phase aims to analyze the truck’s handling, controls and driver experience.

Volvo Trucks senior vice president Jessica Sandstrom said the company wants to put the vehicles through a “demanding, harsh climate” and load them to full capacity to test the fuel cell technology’s potential. If all goes well, customers will be able to test the vehicles in 2025 before they become available for purchase.

Challenges Ahead

Despite Volvo’s progress, fuel cells are still in their early developmental stages. Everyone can benefit from incorporating energy-efficient technology into their daily lives, but infrastructure is needed to pull this off. Europe lacks the green hydrogen supply to power fuel cell vehicles.

The United States doesn’t have the resources to sustain widespread fuel cell vehicles either. Some states are working together to increase hydrogen production for semi-trucks, airlines and other forms of transportation, but the country’s overall supply remains insufficient.

Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks, is optimistic that production will ramp up soon. He made a call for other manufacturers to start investing in carbon-neutral technologies so fuel cell trucks can make an impact further down the road.

“We expect the supply of green hydrogen to increase significantly during the next couple of years, since many industries will depend on it to reduce CO2,” said Alm. “However, we cannot wait to decarbonize transport, we are already running late. So, my clear message to all transport companies is to start the journey today with battery electric, biogas and the other options available. The fuel cell trucks will then be an important complement for longer and heavier transports in a few years from now.”

Fuel Cell Trucks Still a Work in Progress

Entering the first test phase is a big step for Volvo’s fuel cell trucks, but there’s still a long way to go before becoming mainstream. Global green hydrogen production must significantly increase, and the test results must be stellar for other manufacturers to join the effort.

 

About the Author
Jane Marsh

Jane Marsh, Contributor

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. Jane covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, green technology, renewable energy and more.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fuel Cells Works, its directors, partners, staff, contributors, or suppliers. Any content provided by our contributors or authors are of their own opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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