Is Hydrogen the Future for Trucking?

Image Courtesy: Nikola Motors

Powertrain electrification is becoming the new standard  for the automotive and commercial industries. The passenger car market is primarily meeting the demand for lower emissions through battery electric vehicles (BEV) like the new Audi e-tron and Hyundai Kona. Alternative powertrain  options are also coming for the heavy-duty market. Unlike light-duty vehicles, the diesel-reliant trucking industry is focusing on hydrogen fuel cells  as the primary powertrain replacement.

Despite each market’s seemingly disparate approach to zero emission options, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) have analogous powertrains to BEVs. Both leverage batteries to power electric motors driving the wheels. However, the difference remains in the source of recharging the cells. BEVs require an external energy source for recharging power while hydrogen fuel cells utilize the fuel on the vehicle. This duality in power sources is not new to the mobility industry and is recognized as a necessity moving forward.

Matthew Borst  is a content editor at SAE International in the Global Products Group. Previously, he worked as a technical writer at Polaris Industries and was responsible for writing service manuals for various powersports products. He graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Automotive Engineering. His interests include the latest automotive industry news, movies, hockey, and anything that keeps his two kids entertained.

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