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Expectations for the fuel cell truck market

image credit: H2A
Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Aug 25, 2021

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The H2Accelerate collaboration envisions the ramp-up of hydrogen trucking deployment in three phases, initially centred around large-scale green hydrogen production hubs with a limited number of large-capacity, high-reliability hydrogen refuelling stations, that will be connected along key transport routes before expanding to form a pan-European transport network. Initial deployments of 100s of trucks with pioneering customers will help vehicle manufacturers and hydrogen providers tailor their offering to the needs of customers in subsequent roll-out, providing valuable learning that will influence further development of the technology. Over time, an expanded network, improved customer support, and proven technology alongside increasing regulatory pressures to decarbonise will attract new customers and allow hydrogen trucks to transition to series manufacturing.

Long term, sustainable policy support for hydrogen trucks will need to be implemented in the ramp up phase to provide greater certainty to companies investing in the scale up. The combination of increasing scale and policy support will improve the business case for hydrogen trucks from today, where they incur a significant additional cost compared with diesel alternatives. Public support for the initial deployment phases of hydrogen trucks and the supporting infrastructure is required to enable the widespread use of the technology in the 2030s and beyond. Initially, policy support will be required to provide capital funding for both trucks and infrastructure.

As volumes of trucks deployed increases, which also provides additional certainty of high utilisation for infrastructure providers, capital subsidies will be reduced based on volume, while operating cost-based subsidies are implemented to support wider roll-out. This will include implementation of RED II credits for renewable hydrogen, differential road tolls for zero emission vehicles, different vehicle taxation regimes and mandates requiring zero emission trucks.

This rapid, but deliverable, ramp-up in the scale of hydrogen truck deployment will allow hydrogen truck technology to become cost-competitive with diesel alternatives on a total cost of ownership basis after 2030, given sufficient policy support. Since hydrogen is key route to decarbonising certain trucking applications, there is a clear case for providing public funding to allow the roll-out of hydrogen truck technology. The H2Accelerate parties agree that providing policy support for hydrogen trucks on this timeline is the fastest and most cost effective route to decarbonising long-haul trucking on the timescales required to meet net zero targets.



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