Hyundai Motor Company unveils the Neptune HDC-6 hydrogen fuel-cell powered semi truck at this week’s North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta. The look is heavily influenced by Art Deco industrial design of the 1930s, but underneath it’s a new architecture that’s looking to revolutionize the future of trucking.
Hyundai Neptune HDC-6
Choosing a hydrogen fuel-cell electric architecture for this 18-wheeler allowed for the unique sleek exterior design and spacious interior. The truck is fueled by hydrogen, and the fuel-cell uses the fuel to generate electricity for the electric motors. Water comes out of the exhaust outlets of this big rig.
Hyundai does not list power output, driving range, or many other specifications for this concept truck. Although, the new refrigerated Translead semi trailer lists a front load limit of 30,000 lbs. This big rig is meant to carry maximum total weight of around 80,000 lbs.
The HT Nitro ThermoTech® concept trailer is constructed of light-weight materials, and the refrigeration unit is practically noiseless according to Hyundai.
Hyundai is not new to big truck or commercial vehicles. Hyundai currently sells commercial vans, busses, and trucks in 130 countries around the world.
They are not new to fuel-cell technology either. Hyundai recently made an agreement to provide 1,600 Fuel Cell EV heavy-duty trucks to the Swiss commercial vehicle market, beginning 2019 through to 2023.
Many other companies are also working to revolutionize the trucking industry by electrifying the trucks and/or making them autonomous.
Tesla Semi truck was recently delayed while the company is reportedly looking for a production facility for the battery-electric big rig. Nikola is still in the process of developing their lineup of hydrogen fuel-cell semi trucks. Toyota has their experimental hydrogen fuel-cell big rigs already testing at the Los Angeles port. Freightliner and others are also entering this space, although there are currently no electrified long haul trucks that are commercially selling in the United States in any significant numbers.