More zero-emission trucks hitting New Zealand roads
The future of heavy transport is looking increasingly zero emission, as the first trial of electric trucks kicks off in Auckland’s Zero Emissions Area (ZEA) just as a major manufacturer reveals it is expecting the arrival of its first shipment of hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks this month.
The Auckland Inner City ZEA trial follows the arrival of the first Fuso eCanter electric trucks, five of which are being used by trial participants: Mainfreight, Bidfood, Toll Global Express, Owens Transport and Vector OnGas.
The one-year trial will see the integration of the fully-electric trucks into New Zealand’s commercial fleet to deliver goods in the inner city.
“Transport makes up more than 40 per cent of Auckland’s emissions profile,” said Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. “The shift towards emissions-free vehicles is a critical step towards meeting our climate change goals.
“This trial will complement emissions-reduction work already underway by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, including the roll-out of emissions-free electric buses across our transport network. It will also contribute towards our vision of creating a zero-emissions area in Auckland’s city centre.”
Earlier this year, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) approved co-funding for the five trucks to support the development of New Zealand’s zero-emission transport fleet.
Tracey Berkahn, Auckland Transport’s group manager of services and performance, said AT is proud to endorse and support the trial.
“It’s really important for AT that this trial helps demonstrate the potential for electric heavy vehicles. Companies involved in the trial will have the advantage of understanding what it really takes to run electric trucks. This trial is quite unique as those involved have banded together over this common cause.
“While our focus at AT has been on the electrification of buses, it is also important that we explore other ways to support the lowering of emissions.”
At the same time as the trial starts, Hyundai New Zealand has revealed that it is expecting to land five new hydrogen fuel cell-powered Xcient trucks here before the end of the month.
Hyundai says the trucks, which are expected to arrive at the Port of Auckland on or about 18 November “signify the progression and application of hydrogen technology in New Zealand” and that the hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and traditional battery electric vehicles (BEV) “will complement one another in the future as the country transitions to zero carbon.”
The company says that hydrogen technology is better suited than battery electric trucks as a heavy-duty, reliable, future cost-effective replacement for diesel trucks, as the use of hydrogen rather than weighty batteries means they have longer range, shorter refuelling time and greater payload.
The Xcient’s electric motor is run by two 90kW fuel cells supported by a small 72kWh battery pack, and Hyundai New Zealand says the first of the trucks will be on the road in the second quarter of next year, in a live field demonstration transporting “large volumes of goods commercially across New Zealand.”
“As a Kiwi owned company, we are big believers of implementing alternative fuel technology here in New Zealand,” said Andy Sinclair, Hyundai New Zealand General Manager.
“We have championed this through the introduction of New Zealand’s first hydrogen-powered SUV, the Nexo, in 2019. Now with the Xcient FCEV, we have an opportunity to help fast track the large scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the New Zealand road freight sector,”
“We’re fortunate as a local distributor to have a strong working relationship with Hyundai Motor Company, who acknowledge and support our hydrogen ambitions. Hyundai Motor Company anticipated the future potential of hydrogen fuel cells at an early stage, and we have been able to benefit from that.”
New Zealand is just the third country to have access to these trucks, following Switzerland and Korea, and Hyundai New Zealand has initially taken Swiss specification to get the programme underway early.
Hyundai New Zealand says it will work with local partners in the freight sector to determine where the trucks will operate regionally. This demonstration will give insights into how the trucks fit into timetables, capacity, maintenance schedules, refuelling, drivability and user-training specific to New Zealand.