Hyundai unveils new-look fuel-cell powered commercial vehicle concept

As part of Hyundai Motor Company’s Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle 2030 Vision, the auto manufacturer has revealed a concept for its first hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle.

The HDC-6 NEPTUNE Concept Class 8 heavy duty truck has been released to coincide with Hyundai’s announcement that they will be introducing their commercial vehicles to the North American market.

Featuring an eye-catching sleek look, the HDC-6 NEPTUNE has been designed with a look to the future while taking inspiration from the past.

The fuel-cell vehicle has been inspired by streamliner railway trains of the 1930’s and 40’s, revolutionary technology that symbolised the greatest technological wonder of the era while looking modern and innovative.

Hyundai have taken a similar approach with the HDC-6 NEPTUNE concept, combining form and function to create an innovative solution for the commercial vehicle industry that looks bold and modern.

Combining elements from both the cab over engine and conventional truck designs has allowed for an ergonomic shape that provides plenty of room for cab space.

This was an important challenge to overcome for Hyundai, as the entire lower portion of the vehicle features an extended grill to increase maximum airflow that was required due to additional cooling requirements.

Meanwhile, the interior of the vehicle has been designed with long-haul journeys in mind, with a ‘personal studio’ space included.

Complete with a refrigerator, cooktop, microwave, washer-dryer and bathroom, the HDC-6 NEPTUNE has been built for drivers’ comfort.

A majority of the buttons on the dashboard of the truck have been made obsolete, with a single touchscreen doubling as the frame of the windscreen used to control panels as well as the built-in infotainment system.

The HDC-6 NEPTUNE concept is confirmation that Hyundai believes the future of long-haul transportation will be predominantly hydrogen powered rather than battery-powered. With a traditional 80,000 pound weight limit for commercial vehicles including trailers and cargo, including a heavy battery to power the vehicle has proven to make things complicated.

Dr. Malik Ziegler, Vice-president of Hyundai’s Commercial vehicle R&D strategy group, pointed out another issue with battery-powered commercial vehicles, believing the power required to charge these vehicles would be immense.

“If you need to charge a truck quickly, you need a one-megawatt power source,” said Dr. Ziegler.

“If you want to charge 1,000 trucks, you need a nuclear power plant.”

Meanwhile, a fuel-cell vehicle would require approximately 100 pounds of hydrogen to travel across the country.

As part of the announcement, Hyundai also unveiled the HT Nitro ThermoTech trailer concept to accompany the HDC-6 NEPTUNE.

The 53-foot long refrigerated trailer uses a nitrogen tank built under the load floor to cool the interior.

Releasing nitrogen gas into closed metal tubing creates a cooling effect as the gas expands. Once the gas has expanded, it is vented out of the truck and released into the atmosphere, which is already 78% nitrogen. This means there is no additional air pollution being created by the cooling process.

The trailer has been constructed using a one-piece structural sandwich foam panel with Fibre Reinforced Polymer skins to increase thermal efficiency. Panels have been bonded to the rails rather than using rivets, reducing thermal bridges and removing any potential water intrusion.

Hyundai haven’t given a firm confirmation on when we can expect to see this technology on the roads, but are optimistic that government and regulatory bodies are pushing to ban the sale of diesel-engine trucks in the near future, paving the way for fuel-cell vehicles to become the popular option for commercial vehicles.

Original source: electriccarsreport | Hyundai debuts HDC-6 NEPTUNE fuel-cell Class 8 concept

31 Oct 2019