Daimler Trucks relies on the hydrogen-based fuel cell when electrifying its trucks for flexible and demanding long-distance traffic areas. The goal is reach range of up to 1000 kilometers and more with a single tank filling. The truck manufacturer has started at the end of April with intensive tests of the first new, further developed prototype of its 2020 presented Mercedes-Benz Genh2 Truck – and thus reached an important milestone on the way to the series product.
The developers of Daimler Trucks check the fuel cell truck on heart and kidneys. The focus of the highly consuming test series for vehicles and components is, among other things, the continuous use, different weather and road conditions as well as various driving maneuvers. The development plan of Daimler Trucks sees tests on public roads for this year before. The beginning of customer tests is planned for 2023, from 2027 the first production vehicles of the Genh2 Truck should be handed over to customers.
“We consistently pursue our technology strategy in the electrification of our trucks. Our goal is to offer our customers the best locally CO2 neutral trucks based on batteries or hydrogen-based fuel cells, depending on the application. We are fully in the plan and I am very pleased that the intensive tests are successfully started with the Genh2 Truck.”- Martin Daum, Chairman of the Executive Board of Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Executive Board of Daimler AG
The hydrogen-based fuel cell drive will be indispensable in the CO2-neutral truck long-distance traffic of the future, says Martin Daum, Chairman of the Executive Board of Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of Daimler AG. This also confirms numerous partners with whom Daimler worked with full power to bring the technology into the road in series. In addition, the clear commitment of the regulators at national and European level is ensured on the use of hydrogen in road freight traffic “for important impulses”. The support of politics games “an important role in driving the construction of a green hydrogen infrastructure and to enable the cost-effectiveness of fuel cell trucks for our customers,” says Daum.
Sophisticated tests for 1.2 million kilometers miles
The development engineers of Daimler Trucks lay the Genh2 Truck for the same requirements for the durability of vehicle and components as a comparable conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros. That means: 1.2 million kilometers miles, ten years and a total of 25.000 operating hours. Therefore, the Genh2 Truck – just like every new ACTROS generation, must also complete sophisticated tests. For example, in the first test weeks, the vehicle has already covered hundreds of miles under permanent load on the rolling test bench and go through numerous extreme situations from operating practice such as full braking and curb rides on the test trail.
The Genh2 Truck is a vehicle-designed vehicle with completely new components to which the developers are paying particular attention to the tests. These include the fuel cell system, the fully electric powertrain and all associated systems such as the special cooling.
The individual weight of the new components and their respective position in the vehicle also have an impact on the driving characteristics of the truck. As a result, for example, during vibrations due to road unevenness and especially in extreme situations, other forces on the truck than in conventional vehicles. In order to gain comprehensive findings at an early stage, the current prototype – as it is scheduled for the series variant of the Genh2 Truck – loaded within the tests with up to 25 tons of payload for around 40 tonnes total weight.
Liquid hydrogen offers numerous advantages
Daimler Trucks preferred for the drive liquid hydrogen, since the energy carrier in this aggregate state in contrast to gaseous hydrogen has a significantly higher energy density with respect to the volume. As a result, a liquid hydrogen-preferred fuel cell truck with much smaller and due to the lower pressure also significantly lighter tanks. This leaves a larger cargo space and a higher supply weight of the truck. At the same time, more hydrogen can be fueled, which increases the range significantly. Thus, the series Genh2 truck is suitable as appropriate conventional diesel trucks for heavily predictable, multi-day long distance traffic transports, in which the daily energy flow is high.
The experts of Daimler Trucks drift continuously to develop the liquid-hydrogen tank technologies based on a predefined development plan. The engineers plan to reach the appropriate maturity of new tank system prototypes by the end of the year to continue with these the ongoing sophisticated tests of the Genh2 Truck. Until the series maturity, the vehicle tests should then be carried out exclusively with liquid hydrogen tank systems. For the previously intensive tests of the Genh2 truck, a tank system with gaseous hydrogen is used as an internal intermediate solution. Thus, Daimler Trucks demonstrates that both variants – gaseous and liquid – are technically implementable.
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