In partnership with Toyota Motor Europe (TME), CEVA Logistics will begin testing a heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) truck prototype later this year. Designed for TME by Dutch manufacturer VDL Groep, the prototype truck will operate under a five-year contract, decarbonizing TME’s supply chain while also providing performance information on the HFC. The pilot program will enable CEVA to further evaluate the hydrogen fuel cell trucks ahead of the global industrialization of fuel cell technology, which should start toward the end of the decade. Sandra Villeminot, global head of sustainability for ground and rail at CEVA Logistics, speaks to Parcel and Postal Technology International, about the pilot and the company’s plans for fuel cell technology in the future.
Can you tell me more about the heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) truck?
The hydrogen fuel cell acts as a ‘range extender’ for electric batteries. Essentially, the truck is equipped with tanks of hydrogen, which the fuel cell transforms into electricity to feed the electric battery. This enables increased autonomy with reduced weight and size requirements compared to current EV-only technology. In addition, the refueling time is reduced – approximately 20 minutes versus two hours for EVs with quick chargers.
What are the key parameters and goals of the pilot?
CEVA’s goal is simply to test and learn more about this new technology in a real-world application – both from the technical performance aspect and also the economic operational side. Initially, the key parameters would be: hydrogen consumption, availability and price evolution; truck maintenance cost and uptime; insurance; and driver experience.
What are CEVA’s plans for fuel cell technology in its operations?
At this point, we’re exploring the technology. CEVA’s commitment is to take tangible actions today with an eye on the solutions of tomorrow, so we want to be ready with a good understanding of what is and what will be available on the market in terms of ground transport technology.
How will these plans set the company apart from competitors in the logistics sector?
Our commitment is to find better ways of transporting our customers’ goods. This truck enables us to be pioneers as there will be very few hydrogen fuel cell trucks on the road in 2023. Understanding how the technology performs in the real world gives us an advantage in building more sustainable logistics solutions for our customers. The pilot program supports both our drive for innovation and our commitment to decarbonization in the supply chain.
To find out more about CEVA Logistics’ trial of the heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) truck prototype, read the full story here.