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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Mercedes-Benz Trucks Provides Outlook on Hydrogen-Based GenH2 Truck, Undergoing Testing in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks says it intends to expand its range of vehicles to include series-produced trucks with hydrogen-based fuel-cell drives in the second half of the decade. The company says Hydrogen-based drives can be the better solution, especially for flexible and demanding applications in the important segment of heavy-duty transport and long-haul applications. For electric trucks, the same as for conventional trucks applies. When choosing their vehicles, transport companies make rational purchasing decisions based on total cost of ownership. They are unwilling to compromise on their trucks’ suitability for everyday use, tonnage and range.

Further reasons to rely on a second zero-emission drive technology are the availability of a corresponding infrastructure and the availability of sufficient green energy. Mercedes-Benz Trucks says it is convinced that this energy requirement can only be covered quickly and cost-effectively with green electricity and green hydrogen.

Hardly any country in the world will be able to supply itself with green energy alone at competitive prices in the future. Consequently, there will have to be global trade with CO2-neutral energy sources. Green hydrogen will play a central role here. Mercedes-Benz Trucks assumes it will be traded at very attractive prices in the future. In addition, the truck manufacturer sees advantages in terms of the costs and technical feasibility of the hydrogen infrastructure, as well as longer ranges, flexibility and shorter refuelling times for customers.

First Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck fuel-cell prototypes are already undergoing rigorous testing programs since last year – both on the in-house test track and on public roads. In the development of hydrogen-based drives, Mercedes-Benz Trucks prefers liquid hydrogen. In this aggregate state the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, significantly increasing the range and enabling comparable vehicle performance with a conventional diesel truck. The development objective of the series-ready GenH2 Truck is a range of up to 1,000 kilometres and more. This makes the truck suitable for particularly flexible and demanding applications, especially in the important segment of heavy-duty long-haul transport. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the decade's second half.

The development engineers of Daimler Truck have based the GenH2 Truck on the characteristics of the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros long-haul truck in terms of payload, range and performance. The aim is to offer the series-produced variant of the GenH2 Truck with a payload of 25 tons at a gross weight of 40 tons. Two special liquid hydrogen tanks and a particularly powerful fuel-cell system will enable this high payload and long range. They represent the heart of the GenH2 Truck. The two stainless-steel liquid-hydrogen tanks intended for the series version of the GenH2 Truck will have a particularly high storage capacity of 80 kilograms (40 kg each) for covering long distances. The stainless-steel tank system consists of two tubes, one within the other, that are connected to each other and vacuum-insulated.

In the series version of the GenH2 Truck, the fuel-cell system is to supply 2 x150 kilowatts and the battery is to provide an additional 400 kW temporarily. At 70 kWh, the battery's storage capacity is relatively low, as it is not intended to meet energy needs, but mainly to be switched on to provide situational power support for the fuel cell, for example during peak loads while accelerating or while driving uphill fully loaded. At the same time, the relatively light battery allows a higher payload. It is to be recharged in series-production vehicles with braking energy and excess fuel-cell energy. A core element of the sophisticated operating strategy of the fuel-cell and battery system is a cooling and heating system that keeps all components at the ideal operating temperature, thus ensuring maximum durability. In a pre-series version, the two electric motors are designed for a total of 2 x 230 kW continuous power and 2 x 330 kW maximum power. Torque is 2 x 1577 Nm and 2 x 2071 Nm, respectively.

Comprehensive commitment to hydrogen

Together with the Volvo Group, Daimler Truck is committed to hydrogen-based fuel-cells. Both companies founded their joint venture cellcentric in 2021. cellcentric's goal is to become one of the world's leading manufacturers of fuel-cell systems. To this end, the company plans to set up one of the largest series production facilities in Europe starting in 2025.

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