Hydrogen ICE Volvo Trucks Market Ready by 2030

"Green" gas-burning trucks to start road trials within two years, Swedish truck maker says.

Paul Myles, European Editor

May 24, 2024

2 Min Read
Hyrdogen ICE powertrains listed as zero-emissions in Europe.

Volvo Trucks expects to be marketing heavy-duty vehicles powered by hydrogen-burning internal-combustion engines by the end of the decade with real-world trials beginning in 2026.

It says the trucks will run on "green" hydrogen instead of hydrogen derived from fossil fuels to provide one way to decarbonize transport. The company adds that hydrogen trucks will be especially suitable over longer distances and in regions where there is limited charging infrastructure, or time for, recharging of batteries.

In a company statement, Volvo Trucks point out that hydrogen-powered trucks will have an operational range comparable to many diesel trucks, depending on the type of transport.

In Europe, these trucks will be categorized as “Zero Emission Vehicles” under new emission standards, with only very small emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates from combustion.

Volvo trucks with hydrogen-powered combustion engines will feature High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI), a technology where a small amount of ignition fuel is injected with high pressure to enable compression ignition before hydrogen is added. The advantages of this technology include higher energy efficiency with lower fuel consumption and increased engine power.

Volvo Group has signed an agreement with Westport Fuel Systems to establish a joint venture utilizing HPDI technology. The joint venture is anticipated to become operational in the second quarter of 2024.

Naturally, the truck maker continues to develop fuel-cell powertrains with water vapor being their only emissions but these are predicted to take many more years before being commercially viable. Volvo’s offering of other alternatives also include battery-electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels, like biogas and HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil).

Jan Hjelmgren, head of product management and quality at Volvo Trucks, says: “Trucks where the traditional internal-combustion engine remains but runs on hydrogen will have the same performance and reliability as our diesel trucks, but with the added benefit of potentially net zero CO2 emissions well-to-wheel. They will be a valuable complement to our battery-electric trucks, which have been on the market for several years.

“It’s clear that several kinds of technology are needed to decarbonize heavy transport. As a global truck manufacturer, we need to support our customers by offering a variety of decarbonization solutions, and customers can choose their alternative based on transport assignment, available infrastructure and green energy prices.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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