Daimler Truck last week announced the successful trial of its Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck prototype. The hydrogen-electric semi-trailer truck completed 1,047 kilometers, or 650 miles, on a single fill of hydrogen.
Completed with zero CO2 emissions, the truck crossed Germany, starting from Woerth am Rhein and ending in Berlin. The trial was conducted with a full load (gross weight of 80,000 pounds) driving a distance comparable to what’s covered by current diesel-powered trucks.
First previewed in 2020 in the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck concept, the truck’s powertrain features a pair of electric motors, and each motor can deliver a continuous 308 hp and 1,163 lb-ft of torque and a peak of 442 hp and 1,527 lb-ft.
Normally the motors draw energy from a hydrogen fuel-cell stack but during high-load situations, energy is also drawn from a battery. The battery has a relatively small capacity since it’s only used temporarily, such as when the truck is conducting a pass or climbing a steep hill.
The truck is fitted with liquid hydrogen storage tanks, chosen because they’re smaller than tanks required for gaseous hydrogen. There are two 88-pound tanks. According to Daimler Trucks, the hydrogen can be kept at a low temperature for a sufficiently long time without active cooling due to insulation.
The fuel cell component of the powertrain is a development of Cellcentric, a joint venture between Daimler Trucks and the Volvo Group commercial vehicles company. Cellcentric has previously hinted at producing fuel cells at scale by 2025.
While the prototype in the trial is based on a Mercedes-Benz Actros, its powertrain could end up in trucks and buses from other Daimler Truck brands, such as Freightliner, Western Star, and Fuso, as well as the brands operated by Volvo Group.
Daimler Trucks is also developing battery-electric trucks for shorter routes and already has some on sale, including the Fuso eCanter and Mercedes-Benz eActros.
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