Hyundai updates Xcient hydrogen fuel cell truck

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Words: Matthew Hansen
25 May 2021

Hot on the heels of the first Hyundai Xcient hydrogen fuel cell trucks being confirmed for New Zealand, the firm has unveiled an update to the model.

The update amounts to a facelift for the model, with a shiny, commanding new grille being the most obvious visual change. The mesh patterns within align the truck with some of the brand’s passenger-car offerings.

Changes to the Xcient’s powertrain are limited. Its 180kW hydrogen fuel-cell system with dual 90kW fuel stacks is actually slightly smaller than the 190kW system and 95kW stacks of the last model.

Hyundai says the model is more efficient than its predecessor, and on paper they’re correct. Despite the smaller system range is untouched, at approximately 400km with refuelling times of 8–20 minutes depending on temperature.

The system comes paired to an e-motor producing 350kW of power and 2237Nm of torque. Three 72kWh batteries represent an additional source of power.

“Hyundai Motor is leveraging more than 20 years of experience in fuel cell technology to further its vision of an eco-friendly hydrogen society,” said Jaehoon Chang, CEO and President of Commercial Vehicle Division at Hyundai Motor Company.

“With 2021 Xcient Fuel Cell, Hyundai will contribute to the widespread adoption of commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen.”

“The customers are very pleased with the quality and driving comfort of the truck. There is a lot of interest for the truck outside Switzerland as well. We are very confident that we will see Xcient Fuel Cell trucks on the road in other European countries next year,” added Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility.

Hyundai’s local arm was a recent beneficiary of the New Zealand Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund — its successful application seeing it receive $500,000 of funding in February to secure a fleet of five Xcients for both demonstration purposes and “real-world daily logistics trials”.

Hyundai aims to deliver 140 new Xcients by the end of the year, and 1600 heavy duty fuel-cell trucks across Europe by 2025. The brand names China as its next market conquest, as the interest around hydrogen-fuelled trucks continues to grow.

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