Hyundai takes electric truck step to US

American truck show sees fuel cell prime mover and concept reefer trailer

Hyundai takes electric truck step to US
The Hyundai HDC-6 Neptune prime mover and Nitro ThermoTech trailer


Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) is marching on with its global heavy-duty truck tilt, matching the clean-running aspirations of the industry’s biggest names.

The Korean challenger is using the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show to flesh out its fuel cell electric vehicle 2030 vision (FCEV 2030) for wide-spread deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology and to introduce itself to the North American market.

It unveiled the HDC-6 Neptune concept heavy duty truck, while trailer manufacturer Hyundai Translead (HT) launches of its clean energy refrigerated concept trailer, the HT Nitro ThermoTech.

"Today at this show, by showing HDC-6 Neptune, the first hydrogen-only concept for Hyundai Motor Company’s commercial vehicles [CV], we will start exploring opportunities in the United States commercial vehicle market," Hyundai Commercial Vehicle business division head Edward Lee says.

"Furthermore, we are willing to work with other partners to pave the way to establish a hydrogen ecosystem for CV."

Read how Hyundai teased the HDC-6 Neptune a week ago, here

HMC believes that, for commercial vehicles, fuel cells are the perfect fit for heavy duty trucks and long driving distances due to higher drive range, higher payload, less refuelling time and ultimately lower costs.

"The HDC-6 Neptune evolves the Class 8 truck, looking toward the future in design, in-cab technology and propulsion system," the company says.

"The concept continues Hyundai’s leadership in moving to a decarbonised society and the advancement of zero-emission vehicles."


The prime mover’s Art Deco looks are based on mid-century Korean trains, while the grill, which effectively acts as a theme for the vehicle’s the entire lower portion, aims to maximise airflow while integrating retractable steps.

Hyundai has already expanded its global leadership in fuel cell technology," HMC says.

"Through its joint venture with H2 Energy, Hyundai is commercialising fuel cell electric trucks by providing 1,600 FCEV heavy-duty trucks to the Swiss commercial vehicle market, beginning 2019 through to 2023.

"With Hyundai’s commercial vehicle entry to the European market, the US market is an important next phase of the company’s FCEV 2020 vision."

HMC insists the concept is new from the ground up.

"The fuel cell powertrain gave us the opportunity to redefine the classical typology and architecture of the truck," chief design officer Luc Donckerwolke says.

"The Hyundai Commercial Vehicles design team started with a white sheet of paper focusing on the new defined functionality resetting all standards in order to project commercial vehicles in the future."

Nitro ThermoTech

The Nitro ThermoTech concept refrigerated trailer is another of the comglomerate’s tilts at reducing greenhouse gases and dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining competitiveness.

"Adding to Hyundai’s sustainable mobility vision, the HT Nitro ThermoTech will be one of the first trailer manufacturers in North America to introduce a refrigerated trailer using a cryogenic nitrogen refrigeration technology system." It says.

"The concept trailer, developed in collaboration with Air Liquide, is changing the way Hyundai Translead provides refrigerated transportation.

"The HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer’s carbon footprint is up to 90% less than a traditional unit."

HT claims its intelligent control system and independent cooling power maximise thermal efficiency and reduces temperatures more quickly than a traditional refrigeration unit It is said to be unaffected by outside temperatures.

Maximum power is always available, even when the truck’s engine is off or idling, and the cooling unit is "virtually noiseless . . . a significant advantage for night-time deliveries in urban and suburban neighbourhoods".

"The HT Nitro ThermoTech reduces pollutants and emissions while providing reliable and effective cold chain food transportation," HT CEO Bongjae Lee says

The side wall, front wall, and roof are each constructed as a one-piece, structural sandwich foam panel with fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) skins.

"The materials are made without posts and roof bows.

"The one-piece structural foam panel design creates a lighter weight trailer with increased wall strength and enhanced thermal efficiency, while maintaining the same cubic trailer volume," HT says.

"The improved structure panels are bonded to the rails, which reduce thermal bridges, remove potential water intrusion, and provide a cleaner finish."


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