Paul Berger writes that some operators say hydrogen fuel allows trucks to drive farther and faster, but the technology is far behind the development of battery-cell electric vehicles. He continues:
Jim Gillis is making a big bet on hydrogen-powered big rigs.
Gillis, president of the Pacific region for Collierville, Tenn.-based IMC, will take delivery in the coming weeks of his first hydrogen electric fuel-cell Nikola trucks long before the technology is proven and a refueling network is set up.
“I am always worried about first-generation technology,” said Gillis, who expects to be running 50 of the sleek rigs by the end of 2024. “As fancy as it all looks, I know going into it that we are going to have some problems.”
The company is among many looking to overhaul their fleets to meet impending requirements for zero-emissions commercial trucks in California. […]
The refueling may be faster than charging, but filling a hydrogen truck is expensive because the market for the fuel is still very small.
Parker Meeks, chief executive of hydrogen truck-maker Hyzon Motors, said hydrogen is two to four times more expensive per gallon than diesel. Meeks believes the price of hydrogen should fall toward parity with diesel over the next three years as the fuel becomes more common.
IMC’s Gillis said he has no choice but to invest in hydrogen trucks. His company does regular round trips of about 300 miles between ports and warehouses in the southern Central Valley and Southern California’s high desert.
“Those locations are just beyond the reach of these battery-electric vehicles,” Gillis said.
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