Testing battery and hydrogen trucks

Ben Spencer learns more about four battery electric and hydrogen projects aiming to realise the potential of both options

In preparation for the 2040 zero-emission HGV deadline, the UK government has launched a demonstrator programme to kickstart the uptake of a more sustainable alternative. Four projects within the programme will now have a share of £198.3m from the Department for Transport and Innovate UK to trial 40-44 tonne battery-electric trucks, hydrogen trucks, or both technologies.

The Electric Freightway project is led by Gridserve. Sam Clarke, chief vehicle officer at Gridserve, says: “The funding will go towards supporting those hauliers with new eHGVs, with a view of being able to start to stretch the boundaries of what is possible by a major roll-out of eHGV charging infrastructure for longer haul journeys through the public network.”

The eFreight 2030 consortium will introduce 100 eHGVs and hopes for 3,000 trucks by 2030. This project‘s funding extends to upskilling workshop technicians. Voltempo‘s CEO, Michael Boxwell, says: “This investment will include the training relating to standard mechanical maintenance, including how to work safely around the vehicle.”

The Zero Emission Northern Freight project (ZENFreight) will trial 70 battery-electric and 30 hydrogen vehicles on mainly long-haul operations.

Lee Holmes, director for transport at consortium member Wren Kitchens, says: “Working with government, ZENFreight will lead the industry in understanding the capabilities of both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks. The knowledge and understanding developed by ZENFreight will help drive the UK‘s leading position in demonstrating and commercialising zero-emission technologies.”

Finally, Protium and its partners will utilise £31.8m to launch a project that will roll out 30 hydrogen fuel cell HGVs in the Hydrogen Aggregated UK Logistics (HyHaul) project. Protium mobility project manager David Langford says: “This work is essential because using hydrogen requires a refuelling network and partners.”

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