In addition to building new zero-emission trucks, what if old diesel trucks are converted to hydrogen fuel cells? Earlier this week, two such initiatives were announced.

Daimler Truck North America and diesel engine maker Cummins will upgrade old Freightliner Cascadia semi-trucks supplied by Cummins, the two companies announced on Wednesday.

The companies plan to prepare the first trucks by 2024. Until then, Daimler also expects to increase production rechargeable electric eCascadiawhich was presented in a ready-to-produce form on the same day as the fuel cell announcement.

Freightliner Cascadia semi-truck

Startup Hyzon Motors offers its own fuel cell conversion program to put cleaner trucks on the road faster. The company said in a press release that due to supply chain problems the current waiting time for a new truck chassis is up to 16 months. Converting an existing chassis provides a shortcut.

Hyzon plans to offer fuel cells with a capacity of 110 and 200 kW. It says examples of the latter will begin by the end of 2022, followed by commercial launches. The stacks will be manufactured at the Hyzon plant in Illinois.

Hydron Motors hydrogen fuel cell stack

Hydron Motors hydrogen fuel cell stack

Other companies have expressed interest in building new fuel cell trucks. In 2021, General Motors and Navistar announced plans to build 2000 fuel cells “Soon.” Toyota and Kenworth held a demonstration Prototypes of the “Project Portal”. for several years in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Perhaps the most ambitious is the California Fuel Cell Partnership trading group it plans to supply 70,000 fuel cell trucks by 2035 with the support of 200 newly built hydrogen stations.

But while commercial trucks are now seen as a more viable fuel cell option than cars, it’s possible that even this the window of opportunity closes. A recent analysis claims that battery-powered electric vehicles will have sufficient power reserve for all but long-range devices, leaving fuel cell trucks a small niche.

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