Mpreis and DB Schenker are now using the first hydrogen-powered semi-trailer trucks from Hyzon Motors in Austria and Germany. Mpreis has received the first of 70 commercial vehicles ordered directly from Hyzon Motors, while DB Schenker is leasing an Hyzon H2 semitrailer tractor from Hylane.
Both customers have opted for the Hyzon Hymax 250 – a semitrailer tractor that can reach 40 tonnes as a vehicle combination. Mpreis and DB Schenker speak of a premiere in their respective countries: In this weight class, the hydrogen semi-trailer truck is a novelty in Austria, says the local Austrian grocery retailer. Just next door, in the neighbouring country of Germany, “We are using the first hydrogen semitrailer tractor approved for regular operation,” DB Schenker concurs. While H2 trucks such as Hyundai’s Xcient are already on the road, the Hyzon Hymax 250 is still largely unrivalled as a heavyweight semi-trailer truck with its fuel cell drive.
In terms of classification, Hyzon Motors assembles hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles in the USA and Europe. The US company was able to expand very quickly after its founding in March 2020 because it was able to draw on technology from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies – a hydrogen fuel cell company founded in Singapore about 18 years ago. In Europe, the company’s start was bumpy. Hyzon initially brought Holthausen Clean Technology on board for its European headquarters, which opened in Groning, the Netherlands, in July 2020. Two and a half years later, Hyzon took full control of its European business in December 2022. The move was foreshadowed as Hyzon was increasingly dissatisfied with its joint venture partner.
Hyzon is not an OEM in the classic sense, but the company uses existing vehicles as a basis for its developed FC drive. In the Netherlands, Hyzon trucks are based on DAF’s XF Space Cab tractor. In Germany, Hyzon made news not so long ago with the takeover of the German conversion specialist Orten, announced in June 2022, which, however, was cancelled again in October 2022 before it was completed.
In Austria, the grocery retailer Mpreis placed an order with Hyzon in 2021 for up to 70 fuel cell-powered heavy-duty trucks. Delivery was supposed to start in May 2022, but due to supply bottlenecks of individual components, the handover was delayed. Now Mpreis has confirmed the arrival of the first example from Hyzon’s assembly in the Netherlands. Over the next few years, the entire Mpreis fleet will gradually be converted to fuel cell trucks.
The H2 truck is now in operation and delivers goods to Mpreis branches located near the Inntal motorway between the company’s headquarters in Völs near Innsbruck and Kufstein. Mpreis produces the green hydrogen used to power the model itself, for which the company has built its own electrolysis plant. The H2 truck is also refuelled at the company headquarters in Völs where Mpreis has built a hydrogen filling station, which is said to be the first truck filling station, including a trailer filling station in Austria and currently the most powerful hydrogen filling station in Europe.
Mpreis states that the vehicle of the type Hyzon Hymax 250 – according to the press pictures in the configuration 4×2 – has been adapted to its own needs but does not specify in what way. The local supplier will not operate the vehicle itself but has brought the Innsbruck-based FC specialist JuVe AutoMotion on board. In future, the start-up, which was only founded in 2021, wants to act as a central importer of Hyzon vehicles in Austria and cover the entire Austrian market as a service provider for fuel cell trucks.
The H2 semitrailer truck that has now been flown in by Mpreis houses a 120-kW fuel cell, a 250-kW peak-E engine, weighs 19 tonnes without a trailer and holds around 39 kilogrammes of hydrogen in its tank which can be filled up in about eleven minutes. The range is said to be about 450 kilometres, whereby the battery range is shown separately at about 60 kilometres. The medium-sized company from the Austria Tyrol region says that the hydrogen truck consumes about 10 kilogrammes per 100 kilometres.
“Our truck fleet, which currently still runs mostly on diesel, is a major greenhouse gas emitter with around 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. An H2 truck reduces emissions by about 65 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to a conventional diesel truck,” describes Ewald Perwög, project initiator of Mpreis Wasserstoff. “With the gradual conversion of our entire truck fleet to H2 trucks, the ‘corporate carbon footprint’ can be greatly reduced, thus making our contribution to climate neutrality, which Austria aims to achieve by 2040 at the latest.”