Hydrogen fuel cells are widely considered to be the fuel of the future, and according to Iveco and Hyundai, a hydrogen future for trucks is closer than we think. Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Will Shiers reports.
Attend a European commercial vehicle trade show these days, and you could easily be mistaken for thinking that trucks don’t run on diesel any more. A great example of this was the Solutrans Show in Lyon, France, where every manufacturer had something to say about alternative fuels. I only spotted a couple of diesel engines on display in the entire show, and they had been hidden away, banished to the corner of stands like naughty school boys who had been caught smoking!
It was the same story at London’s Freight in the City Expo, which also took place in November. Amongst the alternative fuels vying for attendees’ attention were zero-emission battery-powered and hybrid trucks, as well as those running on natural gas, hydrogen and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). But nobody dared to mention the ‘D’ word.
Yes, I know the world has changed, and there’s a whole new social media-connected generation who are seemingly sickened by the thought of burning fossil fuels. But I wonder how many of them realise quite how clean modern diesel engines are. Drive a Euro 6 truck into London and it will actually help to alleviate the pollution problem, as its tailpipe emissions will be cleaner than the air the residents are breathing!
Looking to the future however, it’s safe to assume that diesel’s days are numbered. What will replace it? Well, talking to the truck makers, it’s clear that there isn’t a golden bullet, which explains why most have a foot in many camps. Over the next few years we’ll certainly see more zero-emission battery-powered trucks in our city centres, but when it comes to long-haul, most experts seem to agree that hydrogen fuel cells are the future. And if you talk to either Hyundai or Iveco, the not too distant future!