Jan 25, 2018

Ballard and Kenworth Fuel Cell Truck Validation Program Moves to Next Stage

VANCOUVER, CANADA – In May 2017 Ballard announced that the company’s FCveloCity®-HD 85-kilowatt fuel cell engine will power a hybrid class 8 drayage truck built by Kenworth Truck Company (“Kenworth”; www.kenworth.com), a leading North American heavy and medium duty truck OEM. The drayage truck will haul shipping containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to area warehouses and intermodal facilities during a two-year demonstration program.

In the interim period the hybrid battery-fuel cell truck has successfully completed initial road testing by pulling a container through highway conditions in the Pacific Northwest. The truck is also being displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 this month in Las Vegas. A short video produced by Kenworth, featuring its fuel cell-powered truck, can be viewed here – Kenworth Fuel Cell Truck video.

Kenworth Hybrid FC truckRob Campbell, Ballard’s Chief Commercial Officer said, “We have been excited to work with Kenworth on the integration of our fuel cell engine technology into its drayage truck and then put the truck through successful highway testing. As we work through this program, we will demonstrate the use of an advanced fuel cell power solution to provide zero-emission and efficient propulsion in the trucking industry, with the traditional range and refueling times provided by legacy diesel solutions. The commercial truck market, including heavy duty trucks like the class 8 drayage trucks, represents a strategic opportunity for Ballard and our fuel cell engine technology.” 

“This project provides an excellent opportunity for Kenworth to develop and advance important technologies that may play a critical role in the trucks of tomorrow,” said Patrick Dean, Kenworth chief engineer. “Within the next decade, hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required to satisfy emissions regulations in several major U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, California is considering regulations that will require zero-emission levels for port drayage trucks operating in specifically designated areas. We look forward to playing a leadership role to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

Medium and heavy duty trucks are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage of CO2 emissions in the transportation sector, including 26% in the U.S. and 30% in Europe. As a result, these vehicles are receiving increased attention, particularly by Port authorities where significant numbers of medium and heavy duty trucks are in use. For example, more than 21,000 heavy duty class 8 drayage trucks are currently operating at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone.

Cleaner electrified propulsion systems for heavy duty trucks are an important and promising alternative to internal combustion engines in addressing related air quality issues. In looking at electric vehicle (EV) technology options, the relative weight and payload benefits offered by a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) – as compared to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) – are significant, underpinning a compelling economic value proposition. For example, in comparison to a heavy duty BEV equipped with a 260kWh battery, a heavy duty FCEV with 25 kilograms of hydrogen:

  • Is significantly lighter;
  • Delivers 2x the range; and
  • Requires just 10 minutes to refuel (versus overnight depot battery recharging).

All these factors support a strong economic advantage for the fuel cell electric vehicle or FCEV.

As a result of the compelling value proposition, the addressable truck market represents a large opportunity for fuel cell technology – even more significant than the rapidly expanding zero-emission transit bus market. According to Navigant Research, while the global demand for electric drive trucks was approximately 31,000 vehicles or 1.2% of the total truck market in 2016, it is expected to grow to as many as 330,000 vehicles or 8.5% of the truck market by 2025. And, the globally recognized Hydrogen Council has projected that, by 2050, there will be 15-to-20 million hydrogen fuel cell trucks deployed worldwide (together with approximately 5 million hydrogen powered buses).  

The Ballard fuel cell engine now integrated into the Kenworth drayage truck is being used to recharge onboard lithium-ion batteries, which power a dual-rotor electric motor to drive the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. The truck has an battery-only range of approximately 30 miles; however, the onboard hydrogen fuel cell engine provides sufficient range for a full day of operation in regional haul applications.

The development and demonstration project with Kenworth is the ‘San Pedro Ports Fuel Cell and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project’ which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), a nonprofit organization that develops technologies and implements solutions to achieve energy and environmental sustainability, led the proposal development effort and is acting as project coordinator.

About Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP; TSX: BLDP) provides clean energy products that reduce customer costs and risks, and helps customers solve difficult technical and business challenges in their fuel cell programs. To learn more about Ballard, please visit www.ballard.com.

Fuel Cells in Action Locations:
  • North America
Fuel Cells In Action Application Type:
  • Truck

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