The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) released a new foundational document for heavy-duty class 8 fuel cell electric trucks (FCETs), “Fuel Cell Electric Trucks: A Vision for Freight Movement in California and Beyond,” that envisions 70,000 trucks supported by 200 heavy-duty truck stations by 2035.
The vision emphasizes the urgent need for policies that unlock and accelerate private investment to achieve this interim step towards a larger goal of 100% zero-emission trucks by 2045.
“Getting to a zero-emission future requires the partnership of government and industry, and the utilization of every tool at our disposal,” said Jerome Gregeois, Director Commercial Vehicles Development at Hyundai-Kia and chair of the CaFCP board of directors. “At Hyundai-Kia, we know that battery and fuel cell electric technologies are needed to meet the diverse needs of our customers.”
The vision emphasizes the need for both zero-emission vehicle technologies, and that “to truly realize a successful 100% zero-emission transition requires the unique capabilities of FCETs.”
Heavy-duty trucks represent only 2% of vehicles on California roads, yet these hundreds of thousands of trucks generate more than 9% of the State’s greenhouse gas emissions, 32% of its nitrogen oxides, and 3% of its particulate emissions.
“The successful rollout of heavy-duty, zero-emission trucks requires the interplay of several key elements. In the case of FCETs, that includes synchronizing vehicle rollout with hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and renewable and zero-carbon hydrogen production,” said Joe Cappello, CEO of Iwatani Corporation of America and vice chair of CaFCP.
With the right policy mechanisms in place, the vision foresees a self-sustaining market by 2035. The draft of a California Air Resources Board report concludes that a self-sufficient light-duty fuel cell passenger car fueling network is possible, suggesting the same can happen for heavy-duty fuel cell trucks. As the vision states: “With the establishment of the necessary market signals and conditions, members of the California Fuel Cell Partnership have confidence in the successful transition of this complex and difficult-to-mitigate emissions sector and see a path to market sustainability.”
The release of the vision document comes on the heels of the California Air Resources Board’s Advanced Clean Truck rule, the world’s first rule requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.
“California has set aggressive goals to achieve zero-emission fleets across vehicle categories, including cars, buses, and trucks,” said Bill Elrick, executive director of CaFCP. “We can only achieve these goals through collaboration between government and private industry, and policies that promote and attract investment. The time to act – and invest – is now, if we intend to transition quickly and successfully to a self-sustaining market.”