Daimler Truck Deploying Hydrogen Trucks With Customers

With both the U.S. and EU trying to phase out diesel in heavy trucking by 2040, Daimler Truck is rolling out fuel-cell-powered heavy trucks this year to test the emerging mobility model.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

January 8, 2024

2 Min Read
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Amazon is among shipping companies trying out Daimler's fuel-cell truck this year.

Daimler Truck is deploying its first hydrogen-fuel-cell customer-trial fleet of heavy trucks this year, on the way to meeting zero-emission rules in Europe and North America in the next decade.

Amazon, Air Products, INEOS, Holcim and Wiedmann & Winz will take part in the initial customer trials with fuel-cell trucks. The five tractor-trailers will be deployed in different long-haul applications on specific routes in Germany.

The vehicles will be refueled at designated public liquid hydrogen filling stations (sLH2) in Wörth am Rhein and in the Duisburg area.

Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen in the development of hydrogen-based drives. In this aggregate state the energy carrier not only has significantly higher energy density, but transport costs also can be significantly reduced, company officials say. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the range and enables vehicle performance comparable with that of a conventional diesel truck, says the company. Liquid hydrogen tanks also offer advantages in terms of cost and weight. Therefore, the use of liquid hydrogen enables a higher payload.

 “With this first customer fleet, our fuel-cell trucks are now being tested in real customer operation,” says Andreas Gorbach, Daimler Truck board member responsible for truck technology. “Our customers get to know fuel-cell technology in daily real-life operation and our engineering team gets to better understand customer needs and relevant use cases, taking them into account for series development.”

Both the U.S. and European Union are trying to phase out diesel fuel in heavy trucking and work vehicles by 2040.

Daimler’s move is seen as critical to advancing the idea that diesel can be supplanted by batteries and fuel cells. The company says it had a 43.5% share of the North American market in the first three months of 2023. The company's 2022 earnings indicate a North American market share of 39.3% for the calendar year for Classes 6-8 and a 40% share of the Class 8 market alone.

Managing Director Micha Lege sees a high deployment potential for the innovative truck, particularly on pan-European logistic routes: “Our company has always been a frontrunner when it comes to innovation.”

John H. Landwehr, whose logistics company Gerdes + Landwehr is part of the Holcim Group, intends to transport granulates and minerals for the building material industry with the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck. He adds: “Payload has always played an important role in our bulk logistics when it comes to CO2 footprint and efficiency. After extensive tests with battery-electric trucks, we are delighted to continue exploring the path towards sustainable transport with a hydrogen-powered truck. Only with our own specific experience can we make the right decisions for the change that begins in 2025 in our business group.”

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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