Page 23 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - November 2018
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NEWS FEATURE
attractive (technically and economically) for light- and medium- duty trucks on urban and regional work. Consultancy  rm McKinsey had opined that battery trucks will make faster progress in Europe than elsewhere because our high diesel prices will make them cost-effective sooner. McKinsey forecasts that battery vehicles will account for 26% of light-duty trucks (below 7.5 tonnes GVW) bought in Europe in 2030. The forecast for medium-duty trucks (7.5 to 16 tonnes GVW) is 19%.
As for long-haul trucks, Walker suggests that hydrogen fuel-cell technology, with electricity generated on board, looks a better zero-emission solution. It overcomes the infamous range limitations of pure battery power and refuelling is fast, once you have a hydrogen infrastructure. “The whole industry is watching Nikola,” said Walker, referring to the American company aiming to deliver fuel-cell electric tractor units in 2020 to US customers. A European version of the Nikola truck is expected to start trials in Norway around the same time.
Paccar and Hyundai are two big established names also engaged in fuel-cell truck development, said Walker. He pointed to a Cummins study suggesting economies of scale could whittle-down prices of fuel cells and hydrogen to give a two-year payback for total cost of ownership of a fuel-cell truck versus
a diesel. But there could be a  y in the fuel-cell ointment. “No government is going to wave goodbye to its fuel tax revenue,” observed Walker, accepting wryly that fuel duty on hydrogen would wreck current payback calculations.
Fuel cell future? The Nikola Tre fuel-cell tractor planned for Europe.
Overhead opportunity: buses like this could have smaller, cheaper battery packs.
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