Daimler Truck stands by its double approach of battery and hydrogen

Daimler Truck approach battery hydrogen
Daimler Truck stands by its double approach of battery and hydrogen

In an article published on the Daimler Truck website, the Head of Truck Technology explains that there is no single solution for decarbonising road transport, and that both battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies need to be used.

Dr. Andreas Gorbach is an expert in his field. He joined the company in 2005 and held various positions in the engine field, including engine platform development, before becoming CEO of cellcentric (the joint venture between Daimler and Volvo on fuel cells) and returning to Daimler Truck as a member of the Board of Management and responsible for Truck Technology.

The expert begins by pointing out that there are 6 million trucks over 3.5 tonnes on European roads, travelling 300 billion km and burning 60 million tonnes of diesel. This generates 200 megatonnes of CO2. European regulations require a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, which means that 400,000 zero-emission vehicles will have to hit the road by the end of the decade. And to get there, battery electric vehicles won’t be enough.

A similar efficiency

Apart from the fact that mobility needs vary greatly, and that there is no single solution, Dr Gorbach explains that it is better to build two types of infrastructure in parallel rather than just one. The network of charging points requires less investment initially, but much higher investment when it comes to delivering much more power, whereas the opposite is true for hydrogen. This double approach is also justified by green energy resources. It is unrealistic to imagine Europe meeting 100% of its own needs. So we will have to import hydrogen molecules, notably from solar energy and from countries in the south.

In this respect, the Daimler expert states that the sun-to-wheel cycle is comparable for battery-powered trucks and fuel cell trucks. The argument is as follows: the greater efficiency of solar panels in southern countries makes up for the losses compared with electrolysis, since the hydrogen-powered truck (which has a longer range) will travel as many kilometres as a battery-powered truck powered by electricity from a solar farm in Europe.

A huge infrastructure challenge

One of the challenges is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). To be credible in comparison to diesel, hydrogen-powered trucks will have to be able to charge between €4 and €5 per kilo of hydrogen, and thus achieve a cost of 40 euro cents per kWh (compared with 70 for recharging at charging points). The other is the recharging infrastructure. In both cases, it will be a massive undertaking. By 2030, 35,000 MW chargers and 2,000 hydrogen stations will be needed.

Dr Andreas Gorbach suggests that 20% of CO2 taxes should be allocated to building this network. And for him, it’s an urgent matter.

Do you want to learn more about Daimler Truck? Then our latest articles about the company should interest you.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

If you liked it, share it

About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

Our latest articles