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Making eTrucks Work

Governments around the world are banning commercial diesel and gasoline internal combustion engine trucks. While electric trucks (eTrucks) are the clear path forward, there are a variety of use cases and vehicle availability requirements that affect the best powertrain choices. In fact, the best solutions for a particular application might not involve plugging in at all, according to a recent report by McKinsey and Company.

The report, “Why most eTrucks will choose overnight charging” (October 2020), addresses the charging needs for medium- and heavy-duty electric truck platforms. McKinsey estimates that eTruck adoption will exceed 30 percent by 2030, and this will require the alignment of multiple factors, including regulation, eTruck supply, and electric powertrain, and other technology improvements.

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Even with forecasted advances, McKinsey & Co. regards less than half the use cases for eTrucks feasible with battery-only EVs. The remaining applications have one or more of the following attributes that aren’t practical or can’t be met with on-board battery energy storage alone and with the charging technologies available now or on the horizon:

  • Long range (greater than 250 miles)
  • High payloads
  • High duty cycles (greater than 8 hours/day, or 2000 hours/year)
  • Unpredictable routes (and associated charging infrastructure uncertainty)
  • High auxiliary power requirements (e.g. refrigeration, cement mixing, emergency vehicles, street sweepers, and port equipment such as container handlers and terminal tractors)

For these use cases (among others), fuel cells are regarded as the most promising solution, and one that is available today. Meeting the needs of demanding fleet operations is what Nuvera offers with its E-Series Fuel Cell Engines. Consider how fuel cells compare with diesel or natural gas internal combustion (IC) engines, or with battery electric powertrains:

  • Zero emissions
  • Fast refueling
  • High efficiency
  • High driving range
  • Payload capacity comparable to today’s IC powered vehicles
  • Reduced EV infrastructure requirements

The McKinsey report notes that more than 40 cities around the world have begun to ban diesel and gasoline IC engine trucks in their city centers. Moreover, with existing and forthcoming regulations in the European Union, where new trucks will be required to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030, and U.S. mandates, like the California Advanced Clean Truck regulation, the move to emission-free trucks of all types will certainly accelerate.

Among the clear advantages of fuel cell engines for trucking are improved power and duty cycle capabilities, range extension to accommodate unpredictable routes, and vehicles better equipped to deal with higher-than-normal auxiliary power requirements.

Additionally, the modular design of Nuvera’s newest fuel stack technology will help eTruck OEMs and system integrators reach economies of scale more quickly and easily, saving both time and money. These are urgent considerations, with widespread emission mandates on the near horizon.

Finally, fuel cells offer solutions across the freight value chain. Ports and terminals present myriad use cases for hydrogen power. Deliveries from ports to distribution centers, vehicles used at distribution centers, and last-mile delivery needs (especially in cold weather environments) are all applications that can be challenging for battery-powered vehicles, and far better suited to hydrogen fuel cell engines.

Recognizing the critical need to power specialty vehicles – in applications as diverse as military, mining, agriculture, municipal/state fleets, utilities, universities and construction – led to Nuvera’s agreement with DANNAR to integrate hydrogen fuel cell technology into its power solutions and bring them to markets in critical need of clean power options. The DANNAR Mobile Power Station® (MPS) serves as both a multi-purpose work utility vehicle as well as a mobile power supply. Use of Nuvera E-Series Fuel Cell Engines on DANNAR’s mobile platform is intended to extend the operational range of the DANNAR MPS and introduce clean, safe, and efficient options for remote power for off-road and heavy equipment applications.

Nuvera fuel cell engines are a logical and practical choice for emerging zero-emission mandates, viable cost of ownership, and maintaining operational feasibility at the fleet scale for the majority of commercial use cases. More and more OEMs, powertrain integrators, and fleet operators are looking more closely at the possibilities afforded by Nuvera fuel cell engines. Visit our website to learn more about Nuvera’s technology advantages, exceptional integration support, and the applications we’ve already addressed over 25 years of experience. Or contact us to find out more!

Topics: #HydrogenNow #FuelCellNow