Hyzon Motors Inc., a global supplier of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles, announced an expansion into a new business sector with an upcoming order of a Class 3 commercial service body utility truck to natural gas distributor Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas). Delivery of the vehicle is scheduled for 2022, a marked turn from the company’s current lineup of heavy-duty Class 8 vehicles.
“Hyzon entered the medium-duty work truck market because of how similar the technology is to that used in heavy-duty trucks,” said Hyzon CEO Craig Knight. “Most of its customers utilize a range of vehicles in their operations. Providing this crucial support vehicle to heavy-duty truck and coach customers will streamline the fleet transition process and accelerate the shift to a zero-emissions future.”
The SoCalGas fleet consists of 5,000 vehicles, 2,000 of which are Class 3 utility service body trucks. The vehicles, which are utilized throughout Southern California, often face differing types of terrain, extreme heat, and increased power demands. Earlier this year, SoCalGas announced its NetZero 2045 climate commitment, which includes replacing its over-the-road fleet with electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, achieving a 100% zero emissions fleet by 2035.
This initial fuel cell electric truck paves the way for the company to accelerate its transition to zero emissions. SoCal Gas also expects that by the later part of the decade hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will become more readily available through conversions as well as OEMs.
The development of the new powertrain was similar to Hyzon’s Class 8, but with a slightly smaller fuel cell, slightly smaller motor, and less hydrogen onboard. The software control scheme to optimize energy efficiency is also the same as the Class 8.
“Hyzon’s fuel cell vehicle experience stems from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, its parent company, who has deployed over 36MW of fuel cells into over 500 vehicles around the globe,” said Knight.
For Hyzon, hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric vehicles are a technology that can be implemented in fleets that return to the same location at the end of every shift, making the new medium-duty truck a good fit for SoCal Gas’ fleet. The vehicles can complete multiple shifts each day with a sufficient power supply.
“In these applications, a single, central refueling hub can service an entire fleet,” said Knight. “With refueling times on par with diesel, the vehicles can run two or even three shifts per day, and with a high-power density inherent to a Hyzon vehicle, heavy loads or ancillary components can be supported.”
SoCal Gas agrees, expecting that by the later part of this decade, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will become more readily available through conversions as well as OEMs. This is not the first transition to clean vehicle technology for its fleet. This past April, SoCalGas announced plans to convert 200 Ford F-250 service pick-up trucks to run on renewable natural gas, which will allow the company to reduce its carbon footprint while alternatives are developed. With the addition of these trucks, nearly 40% of SoCalGas’ fleet will be operating on clean fuels.