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Power Choices for Future Heavy Duty Truck

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Depending on the way the transition across from mainly diesel powered trucks to zero carbon emissions technology works out, the power choices for future heavy duty truck buyers may look something like they did back in the nineties.

In those days, a trucking operator could buy different truck brands with the same power train. It was possible to buy a truck powered by a Caterpillar engine with a Roadranger transmission and Rockwell back end in an International, a Ford, a Freightliner, a Mack, a Kenworth. The alternative could also be a Cummins or Series 60 Detroit in the same range of truck brands. In fact, at one point, it was also possible to buy a Volvo FH prime mover with a 15 litre Cummins engine under the hood.

If the move over to zero emissions in trucking applications takes the route most are expecting it to take, then one of the power sources for the new technology trucks, especially those travelling at higher masses and over longer distances, is going to be hydrogen fuel cell.

The first video shows the latest truck to be announced with a fuel cell power train, the heavy duty Hino Profia (known as the 700 Series in Australia). This truck will be using Toyota fuel cell technology, which, coincidentally, is the same fuel cell we can see in the prototype Kenworth, which was on show at the Brisbane truck Show back in May, and recently displayed at the ATA’s TMC in Melbourne. The Isuzu fuel cell truck, launched recently in Japan, uses the Honda fuel cell.


At the same time, Mercedes Benz is running a hydrogen fuel cell around on European roads using a Cellcentric fuel cell as its power source. When the Volvo fuel cell FH model makes its appearance, it too will be fitted with a Cellcentric fuel cell as its power source. Cellcentric is jointly owned by Volvo and Daimler Trucks.

The question which comes to mind is, will these new fuel cell brands build up the same kind of brand loyalty we saw so much of in the nineties for Cummins, Detroit and Caterpillar diesel engines? I think we can say that the answer will be a definitive NO.


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