Hydrogen fueled truck proves its worth in Swiss trials

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

After a year on the road a hydrogen fuel-cell truck operated by logistics provider Gebrüder Weiss has proven its worth.

The Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell truck is the first in the company’s fleet. It is stationed in Altenrhein, Switzerland, is used on a daily basis in short-distance general cargo transport year round.

Even on uphill stretches, the electric motor, which draws power from a fuel cell, retained full performance. The utility vehicle saves around 80 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Since the 36-ton truck hit the road in January 2021, it has covered around 70,000 kilometres. Fuel consumption has been  less than the manufacturer’s specs. In one year, there was only a single visit to the workshop for a technical inspection.

“The purchase was a worthwhile investment in resource-saving road freight transport. The truck is well received by the drivers and, above all, by the customers,” says Peter Waldenberger, head of quality and environmental management at Gebrüder Weiss.

Gebrüder Weiss plans to use hydrogen trucks in Austria and southern Germany in the future, since subsidy programs in Germany make their use north of the Alps attractive.

The rollout will be limited, however, by the lack of hydrogen filling stations. Nine already exist in Switzerland.

The truck

  • Vehicle type: Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell
  • Permissible total weight: 36 tons
  • Maximum speed: 85 kilometres per hour
  • Tank capacity: 32 kilograms of hydrogen
  • Duration of refuelling: 12 minutes
  • Tank pressure: 350 bar
  • Average daily range: 430 kilometres
  • Total performance since purchase: 70,000 kilometres
  • Consumption: approx. 7.5 kilograms per 100 kilometres
  • Range with one tank filling: approx. 450 kilometres
  • Electric motor power: 350 kilowatts

Gebrüder Weiss has more than 7,400 employees, 170 company-owned locations and an annual turnover of 1.77 billion euros (2020).

In addition to its core business of land transport, air and sea freight, and logistics, the company operates under the umbrella of Gebrüder Weiss Holding AG, which is based in Lauterach, Austria. These include the logistics consultancy firm x|vise, tectraxx (industry specialist for hi-tech businesses), dicall (communications solutions, market research, training), Rail Cargo (railway transports), and the Gebrüder Weiss parcel service GWP which is the co-owner of DPD in Austria.