Powered by Ballard, Australia’s first ever hydrogen-powered heavy-duty truck is set to hit roads by the end of 2023, when a two-vehicle fuel cell electric prime-mover fleet is scheduled for commercial operation with PepsiCo in Brisbane.
The 40-ton heavy-duty 'Taurus' truck was developed by Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Wisdom for PepsiCo in the Australian market. The hydrogen-powered vehicle is equipped with a 110kW fuel cell engine from the Weichai-Ballard Joint Venture (WBJV), and its stack adopts Ballard's LCS M series with a power density of 4.0kW/L - allowing the truck's cabin a more practical design and compact layout.
The zero-emission truck is an inter-city freight carrier and provincial long-distance transportation solution, deriving power from the WBJV fuel cell which delivers up to 400kW of power. The truck has a maximum range of 1,000km and a 50-ton payload.
As suppliers and distributors of consumer goods around the world strive to achieve carbon neutrality, Wisdom's vehicle provides a high-efficiency, low-energy smart green freight solution, with the 40t truck delivering a 20-year service life. With an estimated 70-80,000 prime-movers for long-haul requiring replacement on Australian roads over the next five years, the Ballard-powered heavy-duty truck offers a viable answer for decarbonized freight and distribution.
Wisdom initially signed an MOU with program partners and Australian distributors, HDrive, and clean energy partners, Pure Hydrogen, in November 2022, agreeing to supply 12,000 hydrogen heavy-duty trucks over a five-year period - of which the 40t truck is the first to be delivered.
A ceremonial handover of the hydrogen-powered truck to HDrive took place in April 2023, as the vehicle was shipped from Zhangzhou Development Zone in China. Since then, PepsiCo have undertaken a comprehensive trial period involving tests of the Taurus truck on Brisbane's roads.
The State Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, was present at the vehicle's testing in June and said the trial represented an important step towards cutting transport emissions and demonstrating Australia's investments in new energy.
PepsiCo Australia CEO, Kyle Faulconer added: "We're excited about the hydrogen potential in Australia, especially because it's produced here and it's green, which is one of the key elements. This test wasn't just the first for us in Australia - it was the first for us globally."
The event represented the inaugural trial for both the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry and PepsiCo's global business, with the hope that long-term success will lead to the replacement of other heavy-duty trucks in the multinational food and beverage corporation's 16-strong fleet. The Taurus is set to roll-out commercially by the end of 2023.