Eco Innovation

Volvo developing hydrogen-powered trucks

30th May 2024
Caitlin Gittins

Volvo Trucks is developing trucks equipped with combustion engines that run on hydrogen. 

On-road tests of these hydrogen combustion engine trucks will commence in 2026, with a commercial launch planned for the end of the decade. Utilising green hydrogen represents a significant step for Volvo towards achieving its net zero target and aiding customers in their decarbonisation efforts. Hydrogen-powered trucks present a viable method for reducing carbon emissions, especially for long-distance travel and in areas with limited charging infrastructure or time for battery recharging.

Customer trials of Volvo trucks with hydrogen combustion engines will start in 2026, with commercial availability slated for the end of this decade. Ongoing testing in laboratories and vehicles is already underway. These hydrogen combustion engine trucks will complement Volvo’s other offerings, such as battery electric trucks, fuel cell electric trucks, and trucks running on renewable fuels like biogas and HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil).

 “Trucks where the traditional internal combustion engine remains but runs on hydrogen will have the same performance and reliability as our diesel trucks, but with the added benefit of potentially net zero CO2 emissions well-to-wheel. They will be a valuable complement to our battery electric trucks, which have been on the market for several years,” said Jan Hjelmgren, Head of Product Management and Quality, Volvo Trucks. 

Volvo’s hydrogen-powered combustion engine trucks, when using renewable HVO as ignition fuel, have the potential to deliver net zero CO2 emissions well-to-wheel and are classified as “Zero Emission Vehicles” (ZEV) under the new EU CO2 emission standards.

“It’s clear that several kinds of technology are needed to decarbonize heavy transport. As a global truck manufacturer, we need to support our customers by offering a variety of decarbonization solutions, and customers can choose their alternative based on transport assignment, available infrastructure and green energy prices,” added Hjelmgren.

Volvo’s hydrogen-powered combustion engine trucks will utilise High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology, which injects a small amount of ignition fuel at high pressure to enable compression ignition before adding hydrogen. This technology offers benefits such as higher energy efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and increased engine power.

Volvo Group has signed an agreement with Westport Fuel Systems to form a joint venture to utilise HPDI technology. This joint venture is expected to become operational in the second quarter of 2024, following the formal closing.

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