Tesla Semi electric truck prototype accelerates pulling a trailer
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The start-up, which has so far raised £140million, has added a hydrogen fuel cell system to its current battery-electric HGV design. The hydrogen systems will provide a boost to the electric batteries, allowing the truck to carry heavier loads for far greater distances. According to the company, these HGVs weigh 7.5 tonnes and can travel for up to 310 miles, using a design they believe can work for the “overwhelming majority of fleet operators across a range of industries and sectors.”
As technology advances, hydrogen has increasingly been seen as a more attractive fuel, particularly for heavier vehicles, like buses and trucks.
Aside from having zero emissions, hydrogen cells also have a higher energy density than both lithium ion electric batteries and diesel engines.
The firm’s chief executive and founder Asher Bennett told the PA news agency: “When a zero-emission truck is doing more miles per day, that is very good for the air we breathe, for the planet and for the economics of running electric trucks.
“Every mile you drive on an electric truck, it’s so much cheaper than driving on a diesel truck.”
One drawback for hydrogen fuel cells is that currently they are more expensive to buy than electric lorries, which is why Mr Bennet noted that the new HGV’s “main fuel” will continue to be its electric battery, which is recharged overnight.
He claimed that the inclusion of a hydrogen cell as a backup will remove any concerns that the truck would run out of power.
In a statement, he said: “By embracing hydrogen, we are futureproofing ourselves, our clients and the industries and communities they operate in.
“We also pride ourselves on the fact that our vehicles are safe, reliable and go the distance.
“Combined with our commitment to customer service, we believe that Tevva’s hydrogen electric truck will be a popular choice for fleet operators across the UK, Europe and eventually North America.”
According to Tevva, one advantage of using hydrogen fuel cells to boost the range, rather than act as a primary source, is that it allows the truck to be equipped with “smaller, cheaper and lighter fuel cells and operate these at the highest possible efficiency.”
During tests, they found that their hydrogen truck blew past demanding duty cycles “for nearly all urban and extra-urban use cases.”
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Ben Nyland, Loop Energy President & CEO, said: “We are extremely happy to provide our fuel cell system to power the revolutionary zero-emissions truck Tevva is bringing to market.
“We believe the combination of Tevva’s proven range-extended platform with Loop Energy’s leading fuel cell system can be a key contributor to the decarbonization of transportation in Europe and North America.”
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