Story by FreightWaves’ Alan Adler
Hyundai Motor Co. is expanding its fuel cell ambitions to heavy-duty trucks and trailers with a pair of concepts for next week’s North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta.
The South Korean automaker is making its second-generation hydrogen-powered Nexo compact SUV. In September, Hyundai revealed a fuel cell-powered truck called the Xcient for the Swedish market that it promised a year ago.
Now comes the HDC-6 Neptune, named for the Roman god of the seas. The name fits since hydrogen fuel cells emit only water. Hyundai’s Translead unit will show an eco-friendly refrigerated concept trailer called HT Nitro ThermoTech. Both are scheduled for reveal on October 29.
The HDC-6 Neptune design is inspired by the Art Deco function-driven streamliner railway trains of the 1930s. Designers found new ways to combine form and function inside the cab.
Bold arching lines of the exterior glow neon blue. Inside, the spacious cabin is positioned at the front of the truck with surrounding glass that increases visibility where traditional A-pillars would create blindspots. Images from live video cameras provide 270 degrees of visibility from the sides and rear of the truck.
The interior of Hyundai’s HDC-6 Neptune hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric truck concept. (Image: Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai enters the heavy-duty fuel cell truck space with startup Nikola Motors, which plans Class 8 fuel cell trucks for delivery in late 2022 and Toyota Motor Co., which has a partnership with Kenworth Truck Co. to build 10 hydrogen-powered fuel cell heavy-duty trucks for testing in carbon-conscious California.