That buzz crescendoed in 2020.
In April, Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group announced that the global competitors signed a preliminary non-binding agreement to establish a new joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications and other use cases. In October, Hino announced its own hydrogen truck initiative. In November, Cummins and Navistar announced that they will work together on the development of a Class 8 truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells. And 2021 kicked off with Navistar announcing a partnership with General Motors and OneH2 to bring a long-haul hydrogen truck to market.
All of this happened while electric truck orders were opening and the industry waited (and still waits) to see how fully electric truck technology will be adopted by the fleet market. So the questions are: How seriously should fleets be considering hydrogen trucks? Is this a hedging of future fuel bets? A new shiny object for investors? Or is there a need within the market for clean hydrogen-fueled trucks?
In talking with Jeff Priborsky, global marketing manager of the on-highway fleet sector at Shell, the answer could be surprising: “I think you’re going to see it,” Priborsky said confidently. “As the technology becomes more and more available, I think you’ll see more fleets looking at it.”